What happened. Cardinals’ bench coach David Bell has taken a front office job overseeing minor league player development for the San Francisco Giants.
The story. At the end of the season when the team confirmed that pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley weren’t returning next season, John Mozeliak said that he did not expect there to be any changes on the other team’s coaching staff. However it seems there will be more staff turnover than previously expected.
The numbers. David Bell joined the Cardinals’ organization in 2014 as the team’s assistant hitting coach. A year later he was promoted to bench coach, where he has served since. He has said before that his goal is to be a manager. He has now served as a minor league manager, base coach, and bench coach in his career. Now he’ll add a major front office role to his resume.
The impact. 8/10. This really depends on how you view the impact of the coaching staff, but I see it as a big development for the Cardinals. In my opinion, the bench coach and the pitching coach are the two most important coaches in the dugout when it comes to helping the manager formulate game strategy and both will be replaced.
This can be good or bad. Most see Matheny’s in game management as his biggest issue, but I do feel like it improved when Bell was promoted to replace Mike Aldrete.
My wish list for a bench coach, especially for Matheny, is someone who has plenty of his own managing experience so that they have encountered many of these same game situations before and aren’t learning managerial strategy on the fly.
The club will obviously look at all their options, but one internal option that has to be an early favorite for the role would seem to be Mike Shildt.
Shildt joined the Cardinals in 2004 as a scout and has eight years of managing experience, including championships in 2010 and 2011 at Johnson City and 2012 in Springfield. He joined the big league staff before this season as Quality Control Coach before stepping in as third base coach when Chris Maloney was reassigned.
The bench coach is generally responsible for scheduling and managing the work during spring training. As a proclaimed George Kissel disciple, Shildt would seem to be the right guy to help correct some of the fundamental lapses and perhaps a promotion would help him do that.