The St. Louis Cardinals like what they’ve seen from Mike Shildt, and they want him to stick around and keep it going.
The team announced Tuesday they had removed the interim tag from Shildt, and signed him to a two-year deal as manager of the club. The terms were not disclosed.
“I just want to say what a blessing and a privilege it is to be the field manager on a permanent basis,” Shildt told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “It’s a special group; I’m fortunate to be a part of it, to move this thing forward and on a daily basis to help communicate, trust and compete to what will be a special end of the season.”
Shildt has spent the last 14 years with the Cardinals organization as a scout, coach and minor-league manager. He was the team’s bench coach until July 14, when the front office fired manager Mike Matheny and two hitting coaches.
Since then, the Cardinals have gone 26-12 and are leading the National League Wild Card race.
“Think about when we were here six weeks ago and talked about what we thought Mike could do with a new voice,” said the team’s CEO, Bill DeWitt Jr. “Everything we could have hoped for has occurred.”
Shildt said he appreciated getting the credit for the team’s turnaround but couldn’t accept it.
“The group that’s in this clubhouse is the one that’s putting forth the effort,” he said. “They’re the ones throwing the pitches, making the plays, running the bases and putting their time and energy into their talent.”
John Mozeliak, the team’s president of baseball operations, said the front office had a list of outside candidates they considered giving the job on a full-time basis. But, as the weeks passed, he said, they looked at it less and less.
“Everyone has endorsed him,” Mozeliak said of Shildt. “And so when you ask the question ,"Why now?" it made sense to do it now, because everything is going well — but more importantly, there’s momentum behind our players and staff.”
Mozeliak was the one who hired Shildt as a scout back in 2004. There is an enormous amount of pride, he said, in watching someone rise in an organization.
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