Welcome to the leagues, Randy Arozarena. Mark Budaska, you can see yourself out.
Things change fast in sports. You go to sleep one night with a job and hit the bed the next night without it, wondering what went wrong in between.
The Cardinals made some moves today, welcoming back their sure-fire Hall of Fame catcher in Yadier Molina, placing Jose Martinez on the disabled list, and making the Arozarena call. A few hours later, Budaska was relieved of his duties. Longtime hitting coach Jobel Jiminez, will take over the Major League assistant hitting coach job for the rest of the 2019 season.
Let me spare you the wait for John Mozeliak's comments, and just tell you what happened. Budaska, aka "Buddha," was the old ward for this team's hitting philosophy. Jeff Albert, hired in the offseason, represents the new wave of hitting.
You can't have two strong-minded personalities instructing Major League hitters how to go about their business and improve. Once Albert was hired and allowed to implement a new style of hitting this past offseason, Budaska's time was numbered.
While the timing is odd, the reasoning isn't hard to find. The Cardinals have encountered issues at the plate over the past few seasons. With the exception of a 2016 season that saw them finish 5th in OPS, they have fallen around league average in all the other seasons since 2013, where they finished 10th in OPS. Budaska has been with the team since 2008, spending nearly ten years with Memphis before getting assigned to the big league club in the middle of the 2017 season.
He's molded the swings of Kolten Wong, Allen Craig, and several others.
Imagine this situation playing out in the clubhouse. Wong, who worked with Budaska since signing in St. Louis, goes to him for a swing adjustment, tweak, or idea. But then there's Albert putting in a new approach, which may conflict with what Budaska really wants to teach Wong or others. I don't put a lot of stock in hitting coaches, but I would say assistant hitting coaches need to be basic YES men, and nothing more. If not, it's gets confusing and messy.
That's all there is to it. There could be more, but I doubt it. Budaska will get hired by another organization. He was beloved in St. Louis and Memphis, working with the Boston organization for six seasons before that. Other MLB teams will be chomping at the bit for the chance. He may take the rest of the season off, but come 2020, he'll have a new jersey if he sees fit.
Whatever the exit entailed, fans should applaud his work. Without him, maybe David Freese doesn't smoke that World Series triple. Without him, Craig doesn't turn into one of the most underrated hitters this team has ever seen. Without him, a guy like Matt Carpenter may not turn into such a productive player for seven seasons.
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Budaska did a great job, but all things come to an end. Ideas and strategies change when the team experiences negative results. Someone has to answer for it, and most of the time, it's not the right person. In the Cardinals' case, it's frustrating. All the people Mozeliak assembled are being shuffled out, one at a time, season by season. He's protected, though, sitting atop a perch that has no consequences ... for the time being.
The deadline may have come and gone without action, but the Cardinals are turning tables over now, hoping for a spark that carries them to a division title or playoff spot at the very least.
Mark Budaska is the latest casualty of an organization trying to reshape their identity, or find a new one all-together.