Is Mike Shildt the answer for the Padres?

Credit: Springfield News-Leader

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Credit: NBC Sports

The San Diego Padres need a manager. Is Mike Shildt the answer for the team? 

Mike Shildt is an excellent manager, one that posted winning records in all four of the seasons. He worked as the manager for the St. Louis Cardinals.

He won 90 games twice and made the playoffs in all three seasons at the helm in St. Louis. Despite that, the Cardinals shockingly fired Shildt after the 2021 season. The Cardinals went 90-72 and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Wild Card game.

St. Louis won a team-record 17 straight games in September, pushing the Cardinals to their third consecutive playoff appearance despite an aging core. However, the Cardinals announced that Shildt would not be returning late last week. With the San Diego Padres managerial job open, Shildt has been very widely rumored to interview with the Padres. He’d make a great manager, and assuming everything goes well in his interview. He’d be a slam-dunk pick.

He’s a winner, something the Padres desperately need. He went 252-199 in St Louis, and he took the Cardinals to the National League Championship Series in his first entire season at the helm. Shildt also won NL Manager of the Year that same year. He’s made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, something just six other teams have done. He guided the Cardinals through the seemingly impossible task of playing 51 games in 43 days after the team had a massive COVID-19 outbreak. Not only did they play all 51 games, but they also won 28 of them and made the postseason as the fifth seed. They faced the Padres, falling in a winner-take-all third game, but the skill in guiding a team even to make it that far was very impressive.

Shildt worked his way up the Cardinals organization. He started as an associate scout in 2001 before joining their A-ball affiliate as a coach in 2004. He managed all three of the Cardinals minor league affiliates, moving up the ladders twice between 2009 and 2016, before becoming the quality control coach in St. Louis.

He became the bench coach for the 2018 season, then became the interim manager after Mike Matheny was fired, making him just the eighth person to manage a Major League team without playing baseball at a professional level. The Cardinals flourished in the second half, going 41-28 with Shildt as the manager, after going 47-46 with Matheny. Shildt then became the full-time manager in St. Louis on August 28.

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The Cardinals won the division in Shildt’s first full season, winning 91 games and earning them the third seed in the playoffs. They won a five-game series in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves before being swept by the eventual World Series-winning Washington Nationals. Before the successful campaign, gave Shildt’s Cardinals just a 28% chance to win the division and a 44% chance to make the postseason– both of which they accomplished. 

The Cardinals stagnated in their past two seasons, dropping out in the Wild Card Round both times (series in 2020, game in 2021). Nonetheless, Shildt was very successful as the manager of one of the most storied franchises in MLB history. The Cardinals didn’t have a player on the roster who was able to hold a candle to Fernando Tatis Jr. in any of Shildt’s four seasons. The Padres are better on paper than those Cardinals, and Mike Shildt is the right person to turn the projected wins into actual ones.

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