The Cardinals’ fourth appearance in the World Series in 10 years and all the attention paid to the organization’s scouting, structure and culture have general manager John Mozeliak preparing again for an inevitable byproduct.
There could be other clubs headhunting Cardinals.
“This success is likely going to propel some people because there is no doubt you’re going to see (clubs) trying to look at ways to emulate what’s happening here,” Mozeliak said. “So, frankly, you’ve got to have quality succession plans in line, and prepare. I think it’s a great compliment.”
Following the team’s victory in the 2011 World Series, Houston plucked Jeff Luhnow as its new general manager and Luhnow brought several members of the Cardinals with him. That migration continued this month as pitching coordinator Brent Strom joined the Astros. Mozeliak said members of his staff have “higher ceilings” and expects over the next “year cycle” to see other clubs offer jobs because of the Cardinals’ growing reputation as one of baseball’s best. The Cardinals’ farm system was ranked No. 1 entering the season, and publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN and FoxSports have labeled the Cardinals the “best” or “smartest” organization in baseball in recent weeks.
The interest is also expected to extend into the dugout. Jose Oquendo has interviewed for managerial positions before, and bench coach Mike Aldrete’s name will start surfacing in searching. A Cardinals official recently he expects Aldrete to be a candidate for managerial openings in the coming seasons, if not this season.
The Cubs, Mariners and Tigers have openings.
Aldrete would like the opportunity.
“I got into coaching pretty much like most things that I do – to take it to the pinnacle,” Aldrete said Saturday. “When and if it happens, I want to be prepared for it and I want to give it my best. I’m willing to hone my craft. At some point I hope I’d become an interesting candidate.”
Aldrete, 52, felt he wouldn’t have a chance to manage until he was promoted to be Mike Matheny’s bench coach. He joined the organization in 2008 as Tony La Russa’s assistant hitting coach and moved to bench coach before the 2012 season, Matheny’s first. He has previously been a hitting coach in Arizona and a manager in the minors.
St. Louis “is the place I want to be,” Aldrete said, “unless I get a chance to manage.”
SELIG ON THE DH IN THE NL
The relocation of the World Series to a National League ballpark prompted the annual questions about how baseball continues to play its championship with two different sets of rules. For more than 40 years the designated hitter has been in the American League and not in the NL. On Saturday night, Boston had to play DH David Ortiz at first base to keep his bat in the lineup while sitting slugger Mike Napoli and his $5 million salary.
The All-Star Game now features the DH in both lineups regardless of the location – AL or NL park – but Commissioner Bud Selig said there’s been no discussion of expanding the DH into the NL or World Series. The next time it is most likely to be discussed is 2016, after the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement.
“I’m the only one left that voted in 1972 for the designated hitter,” Selig said Saturday during an impromptu media session at Busch. “The only thing of Charlie Finley’s that I ever voted for. The American League desperately needed offense. Here we are 41 years later and I often worried about that. My friend Bill Giles of the Phillies said something to me many times, ‘I like the controversy between the leagues. I think it’s good.’ Having said that, I did say three or four years ago that I have very strong feelings (against) instant replay. And like everything else in life you make adjustments and I have somewhat different feelings.
“So I’m never going to say never to anything,” Selig concluded, “but at the moment, is there anything going on? No.”
Outfielder Carlos Beltran received another anti-inflammatory shot Saturday before starting Game 3 to receive at least four hours of relief from his severely bruised ribs. Beltran said before the game that he hoped Saturday would be the last day he would need the treatment to play. His discomfort had improved from Friday to Saturday, the veteran said. He took batting practice on the field for the first time since crushing his ribs against the outfield wall at Fenway Park.
Allen Craig, who has strained ligaments in his left foot, increased his pregame work at first base in preparation to play in the field. He did not start Saturday, though the Cardinals will consider him for first base Monday when Boston starts lefty Jon Lester. Manager Mike Matheny said that Craig could be a late-game option in the outfield or at first base, if needed, but the club is hesitant to push him in the field and lose his bat because of an aggravated injury.
Matheny said Craig was not ready to start in the field Saturday.
“I know he’d feel more comfortable in the outfield (but) I think he could potentially be either,” Matheny said. “We’re not going to put him in a situation that he’s not prepared for. If he’s out there because he’s just grinding, is that really doing us a service?”
Two former World Series winners with the Cardinals participated in the pregame ceremonies as Willie McGee threw the ceremonial first pitch and 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein delivered the game ball. … Before Saturday’s game the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune as its president. Neal, who has covered baseball for two decades, including turns in Minnesota and Kansas City, is the first African-American president of the organization, which was founded in 1908. … The Hank Aaron Award will be presented before Sunday’s Game 4 at Busch. The trophy is given annually to the best offensive performer in each league, and the Cardinals’ nominee is Matt Carpenter.