In somewhat of a surprise decision, the St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly hired former catcher Mike Matheny as their new manager, replacing Tony LaRussa who retired after leading the team to their 11th World Series title. A press conference to formally announce the move will help tomorrow morning at 11am CST.
While Matheny did spend five years as a Cardinal playing under Tony LaRussa, he was the only one of the six candidates interviewed by the club with no previous managerial experience or coaching experience at the Major League level, serving only as a minor league instructor for the club. Matheny even acknowledged that his lack of managerial experience was the “elephant that walked in with me…” but that was apparently not held against him.
Of course the REAL elephant in the room is whether or not Matheny will have Albert Pujols in his starting lineup come opening day 2012? As former teammates, the two are obviously very familiar with each other, and that may help the Cardinals in their efforts to retain the free agent slugger. It goes without saying that Matheny’s transition would be made much easier with Pujols on his side.