ST. LOUIS -- Concerned about the team's current trajectory and dissatisfied by the play that has the Cardinals off to their worst start since 2007, John Mozeliak, for the first time in his tenure as general manager, chose to shake up the coaching staff midseason.The Cardinals dismissed third-base coach Chris
ST. LOUIS -- Concerned about the team's current trajectory and dissatisfied by the play that has the Cardinals off to their worst start since 2007, John Mozeliak, for the first time in his tenure as general manager, chose to shake up the coaching staff midseason.
The Cardinals dismissed third-base coach Chris Maloney, who had become the target of recent scrutiny due to how many runners the club has had thrown out on the bases, and replaced him with Mike Shildt on Friday. Shildt will also take over as the team's primary outfield instructor. He was in his first season on the big league staff as a quality control coach.
Maloney was a member of manager Mike Matheny's original staff and took over third-base coaching duties last season. He will be assigned a new role within the organization, Mozeliak said.
As part of the staff changes, the Cardinals also promoted two Minor League instructors -- Ron "Pop" Warner and Mark Budaska -- to the big league staff. Budaska, Triple-A Memphis' hitting coach for the past nine seasons, will serve as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach until Bill Mueller returns from a leave of absence. Warner's job title is less defined, leaving him to help out as needed in various areas.
"Clearly, when you look at the dynamics of what was going on; again, think about the offseason narrative -- baserunning, better defense -- and unfortunately a lot of these were colliding in a negative way," Mozeliak said. "I feel like standing up here and doing nothing and hoping for a different outcome is not the right strategy."
Jose Oquendo, the club's longtime third-base coach and infield instructor, was not approached about returning to his old position. He left the Major League staff last year for health reasons.
The moves come a day after the team completed a winless seven-game road trip to fall a season-worst six games under .500. It marked the first time the Cardinals had dismissed a coach midseason since 2001, when Mike Easler was let go.
"I feel a sense of responsibility to every one of these staff members to not put us in the position where we are right now," Matheny said. "That's not something that I take lightly or say lightly. It hurts as if I've let them down individually and collectively."
During a 19-minute news conference called to announce the changes, Mozeliak repeatedly stressed that blame for the team's poor start isn't isolated to any one individual. Rather, he called it a "breakdown on many levels."
"I think everybody, including myself, is not in the most secure situation right now," Mozeliak said, when asked a question about Matheny's job security. "I hope everybody recognizes that all of us feel responsible for where we are.
"From ownership, front office to our Major League staff, this is not how we envisioned it. There have been different facets of the game that we said we were going to focus on and try to improve upon and we've come up short."
Mozeliak was then asked if he believes this team, which entered Friday 4 1/2 games back of the division-leading Brewers, can still contend for a postseason berth.
"Not if we don't start hitting," Mozeliak said, aware that his club ranks 27th in the Majors with an average of four runs per game. "Do I think we have the pieces to be a playoff team? Yes. Do we have to start playing better and fast? Yes."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.