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Cardinals announce coaches Jeff Albert, Mike Maddux will not return in 2023

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St. Louis Cardinals president of operations John Mozeliak on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, discusses how the team's pitching coach, hitting coach, and bullpen coach will all not be returning.

One coach left to seek a change to lifetime spent on a hectic schedule.

The other declined to discuss a new contract so he could get a change of scenery after several years of being the target of criticism.

The Cardinals will have four vacancies on manager Oliver Marmol's coaching staff headed into the offseason, as pitching coach Mike Maddux, hitting coach Jeff Albert, and bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd will all not be returning to the major-league staff, the club announced Wednesday. The team previously lost bench coach Skip Schumaker to the Marlins as their new manager, and that position will also have to be filled.

At their end-of-season press conference, the Cardinals announced hitting coach Albert opted not to return and pitching coach Maddux has stepped down.

The Cardinals plan to approach Maddux about remaining with the organization in a reduced or advisory role if that interests him. 

The other coaches on staff are all returning for 2023, Mozeliak confirmed, though they have different roles as the absences lead to promotion or rethinking the setup of Marmol's staff.

Assistant hitting coach Turner Ward, new to the organization and team for 2022 and lauded by players, would be a candidate to be promoted to hitting coach. The Cardinals will also retain two minor-league hitting coaches with strong ties to Albert, Tyger Pederson and Russ Steinhorn. They could factor into the Cardinals' decisions on a hitting coach group for 2023.

The Cardinals also have two former players who have seen increased roles in their hitting development: Ryan Ludwick and Bernard Gilkey.

Pitching Strategist Dusty Blake will also remain with the club and is a favorite to be promoted into one of the two pitching-related coaching positions. He is a candidate to take over at pitching coach, Mozeliak agreed.

Some other notes from Wednesday's press conference:

• Mozeliak met in person with Nolan Arenado in Southern California earlier this week to talk about the third baseman's contract and his opt-out decision. Mozeliak outlined the direction of the team, some plans, and he left optimistic that Arenado will remain with the team. The decision is now with Arenado whether he becomes a free agent or remains with the Cardinals through 2027. Mozeliak said he hopes to hear from Arenado shortly. The deadline for a decision is five days after the conclusion of the World Series.

• The Cardinals are making some of their final 40-man roster decisions in the coming day. Three names to watch: Moises Gomez, the record-setting minor-league slugger must be added to avoid becoming a minor-league free agent; Iohan Paniagua, a pitcher, must be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being eligible for the Rule 5 draft; and Alex Reyes.

The Cardinals could opt to remove Reyes from the roster to clear a roster spot after consecutive years missed due to injury. That would make Reyes a free agent unless the Cardinals and right-hander work out a deal that would bring him back to the organization on new contract.

• The Cardinals plan to increase payroll for 2023 after a year of remarkable ticket sales and rush of revenue.

• Mozeliak identified adding a starting catcher as a priority for this season. Andrew Knizner will be positioned as the backup to an addition from outside the organization. They are aware that could come at a cost. 

• Mozeliak said there were no surgeries that took place after the conclusion of the season. He said that Jack Flaherty is set for a normal offseason, one that does not have him recovering from some soreness or injury.

Albert, 41, was hired as hitting coach by the Cardinals in 2018 and opted not to return after feeling frustrated with the criticism he faced while in the role. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said he planned to offer Albert a new multi-year contract before being informed of his desire to go in another direction.

Maddux, 61, has been with the Cardinals since October 2017 and cited a desire to return to a "slower pace" as his reasoning for stepping down. Mozeliak indicated a intention to offer Maddux a contract extension as well. 

In addition to the two primary coaching changes, the Cardinals have reassigned bullpen coach Eversgerd to another role within the organization. Mozeliak described the new position as "special assistant." 

Columnist Jeff Gordon gives year-end grades to St. Louis Cardinals ownership and staff.

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