While the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers prepare for an exciting Game 7, I want to talk to you about the newest addition to the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike Maddux.
He won't give the Cardinals 200 innings or hit 20 home runs, but he is the perfect guy to lead this young pitching staff into domination mode. With no disrespect to the members of the Jim Hickey republic, Maddux has a reputation that precedes itself. Ask anyone around the league if Maddux can do his job and they will tell you that they wish he was coaching their staff.
Five different teams reportedly wanted Maddux to join their team. That officially places a guy in big-deal territory if you ask me. When five clubs want you to take over their pitching operations, you aren't just popular or have a famous brother; you know what you are doing.
Maddux is so special the Washington Nationals gave him a two-year contract that just expired after the 2017 season. The Nats usually hand out one-year terms. With Maddux, you get the prom king of pitching coaches.
Before he coached pitching, he pitched himself for nine different teams over 15 seasons spent in the Major Leagues, including 13 years spent in the National League. After he retired, Maddux went straight into coaching, starting at the bottom of the Astros system. He then spent six years in Milwaukee with the Brewers, before moving on to the Texas Rangers and then Washington.
Here's the thing: wherever Maddux has traveled, the pitching staff has improved immediately upon his arrival. The Brewers allowed 70 fewer runs during Maddux's tenure with the team than before, and he was the mind at the start of the C.C. Sabathia dominance. Maddux's staffs in Texas were comprised of No. 2 and No. 3 starters. He didn't have the luxury of a true ace. Maddux is the family-owned auto shop who can fix a clunker that just crawled off the road.
He knows first-hand how great the Cardinals can be. Maddux witnessed the collapse of the Rangers in the 2011 World Series at the hands of the Birds. I imagine he got pretty excited when John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny told Maddux that his pitchers get to face David Freese in 2018, and possibly 2019 as well. A guy like Maddux never forgets.
The Maddux hire continues the Cardinals dramatic coaching overhaul, an operation that hopes to provide Captain Incapable of Improvement, Mike Matheny, with the final boost to get back to the World Series. The return of Jose Oquendo, hiring of Willie McGee, reshuffling of Mike Shildt to bench coach and addition of Maddux are all parts of a Hail Mary pass by the Cardinals to get Matheny right.
And Maddux is the right guy for the team at this very moment. If any guy is going to watch tape of Adam Wainwright and get him right for one final ride, it's Maddux. If anyone give Carlos Martinez the tools to become a no-doubt Cy Young candidate, it's Maddux. If anyone can take the positive returns of a comeback season for Michael Wacha and sustain it, it's Maddux.
He will be able to mold Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty into true weapons of fielding independent destruction. When the Cardinals sign a guy who may be able to give them 200 innings but possibly a fair amount of trouble based off his past, Maddux will get the best out of him. It's what he does.
If the Cubs get Hickey, good for them. He isn't as good as Maddux and will have less to work with in Chicago with Medicine Man Joe Maddon.
Up until this point, before free agency and the trade season begins, the Cardinals have enjoyed a great postseason spent formulating their coaching staff. While other teams have played for the largest trophy in the sport, the Cardinals have retooled and refurbished their living area and dining room.
All that is left to do is land a dynamic bat for the lineup, a legit starter, and some bullpen help. You've set the team up for great success, but there are some rooms left to fill.
Mike Maddux was an excellent hire and will have lots to work with, but let's go ahead and give him a few more bodies to greet for Christmas.
In other news:
- Dexter Fowler needs to play left field. That is all. You don't need many 500-word articles to get that point across. It's called common sense.
- I like Josh Donaldson if he's in addition to another bat and signs an extension past 2018.
- Once again, for the cheap seat folks, say no to Greg Holland.
- Scott Boras represents J.D. Martinez now. His price just went up $50 million, at least.
- I don't believe Adam Wainwright can return to what he was years ago, but I sure would like a No. 5 innings eater with an ERA around 4.00. If he is half as good as his tweets, the rotation will be better in 2018.
Do you have a Cardinals topic or question that you need an answer to? Send me a bit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.