The St. Louis Cardinals have brought the “Secret Weapon” back to the coaching staff. What does this mean to the current staff?
With Jose Oquendo being back manning the third base coach position for the St. Louis Cardinals, some think eventually it could lead to Oquendo replacing Matheny. I don’t necessarily agree with this and I want to touch on why. First, let me preface this by saying I am not a fan of Mike Matheny and know that in the past Oquendo has played a huge role in the infield and defense and the team’s baserunning as well.
However, I want to examine something that makes me question whether or not Jose Oquendo would be a successful manager. Jose Oquendo has been a coach in the St. Louis Cardinals system since 1997, and during that time he has primarily served as the third base coach for the major league team. He served in that role starting in 2000 and ending in 2015. He has not been at that position for the last two seasons and will be returning to that role in 2018.
During that time, Jose Oquendo has interviewed for four different managerial positions in Seattle, New York, San Diego, and St. Louis. He also hasn’t even been considered for a bench coach role with the Cardinals, a role that generally is given to those who have managerial promise and the Cardinals have had their fair share of bench coaches since 2000.
One of the biggest criticisms of Mike Matheny is his lineup construction and bullpen/pitching management. There’s nothing that we know about Jose Oquendo that suggests he would be any better in these areas than Matheny. Oquendo being around baseball a lot longer than Matheny very well could be someone who relies on old baseball knowledge as opposed to the modern analytical game.
In fact, the Cardinals hired Matheny on the premise that he would listen to analytics and give young players a shot. Unfortunately, for the Cardinals, Matheny has not shown these qualities.
If Oquendo was a little more apt to these methods, one would think he would have a job already. If Matheny falters again this season, the hope is that the St. Louis Cardinals explore all options to replacing him. The consideration for Oquendo would be strong and the outcry from the fans would even stronger.
However, my hope is that Oquendo would only be considered if he is the right person for the job. If he is and leads this team to increased reliance on analytics, his appointment as manager would be pleasing to see. We have already seen the story of a manager get the job because he was a former Cardinal. I don’t want favoritism to come through again.
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