Having fired bullpen coach Marty Mason in their first move of the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals opted for stability over shake-ups with the rest of returning manager Tony La Russa’s staff, returning pitching coach Dave Duncan and hitting coach Mark McGwire for the 2011 season.
Duncan, who’d publicly suggested he’d like a three year deal while the La Russa negotiations were ongoing, will return on a two-year contract with an option that both parties will have to approve for 2013. McGwire, as well as base coaches Dave McKay and Jose Oquendo and bench coach Joe Pettini, have new one-year contracts.
Duncan, 65, and La Russa have coached together since 1983. McGwire, who played with the Cardinals from 1997-2001, was made hitting coach over the 2009 offseason, admitting before the season began to the steroid accusations that had dogged him as a candidate in the past. McGwire's return was uncertain—some had speculated that he would return home after his wife had triplets during the 2009 season.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced Monday that Tony La Russa, their long-time manager, will return to the Cardinals for the 2011 season. The contract has a mutual option for the 2012 season, which may help to alleviate the seemingly yearly limbo in which the Cardinals and La Russa find themselves.
Tony La Russa, the third-winningest manager in the history of Major League Baseball, has managed the Cardinals since 1996 to a combined record of 1318-1110. Under his watch the Cardinals have won two National League pennants and one World Series championship.
The St. Louis Cardinals have fired bullpen coach Marty Mason, reports the Post-Dispatch, a move that comes as a major surprise in the wake of the expected return of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
Mason, in certain conspiracy-theory circles, was considered nearly as important as Dave Duncan to the Cardinals’ long-term success with veteran pitchers and ground-ball focused game-planning. Joe Strauss describes him in this article as “the go-to man for mechanical issues”, and it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals replace him and placate Duncan, their long-time pitching coach.
Carlos Martinez, the pitcher formerly known as Carlos Matias who received a $1.5 million contract to join the St. Louis Cardinals but couldn't leave the Dominican Republic due to visa problems, has finally cleared them up. With his new name and his new visa, the "big hurdle" is now clear for the teenager with the 97 mph fastball.
In 12 starts with the Cardinals' affiliate in the Dominican Summer League, Matias/Martinez struck out 78 batters in 59 innings, walking 14 batters and allowing just 28 hits for an ERA of 0.76. He'll (apparently) be 19 in 2010, when the Cardinals will need to figure out whether he's ready for full-season ball in the American minors.