Once again, it’s time for the February United Cardinals Bloggers Roundtable. Yesterday was my day to ask the question, although I didn’t actually post it until last night, thanks to the text from Daniel reminding me. Here was the question that I asked to my fellow roundtable members:
After baseball players retire, they often become coaches or managers. I guess they can’t get baseball out of their blood. Hmm, isn’t that why we blog about Cardinals baseball? LOL! Veterans Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds came to spring training this year to work with the current players. However, just because someone is talented in a particular area doesn’t mean they can teach it to others.
So here’s my question. What former or current Cardinal player would you like to see become a coach and why? My answer is Chris Carpenter, not just for his technical skills, but because he can teach attitude and sportsmanship. He worked with Trevor Rosenthal over the winter, so he has some experience with coaching already.
Looking forward to your answers!
Daniel Solzman, Redbird Rants:
The no-brainer answer is Chris Carpenter. He said so himself that he can’t envision retiring. The best thing to do now is to lock him up to a personal services contract.I’m not going to lie that I was very jealous to see guys like Jake Lemmerman and Carson Kelly tweeting about being able to meet Ozzie and Willie.
I am going to go with Rick Ankiel. I have no idea if he can teach, or if he is good with the young guys or anything like that. I just have to think, with everything that Ankiel has been through both as a pitcher and as a position player, that he would have a lot to share about the mental aspect of making it to and playing in the big leagues.
He could also teach a mean, nasty hook to lefties and maybe show outfielders how to throw a pill from the wall to third base on a line.
Scott Rolen. I have no idea whether he is interested in it, or has any skill at it (like the other suggestions so far). What a talented guy, though. To have him around the clubhouse in a mentoring and training capacity would pass along a winning attitude, and he has no shortage of skills others could benefit from. He’s got Cardinal heritage, and he knows what it’s like to play with a top notch ballclub. As his career draws nears the end, I’d love to see him join our coaching ranks.
I would have to go with a current Cardinal and pick Yadier Molina. I think that, after LaRussa and Dave Duncan left the Cardinals, Molina has became more of a coach on the field. In addition, catchers tend to make good managers, just look at Mike Scoscia, Joe Girardi, Eric Wedge, Bob Melvin, Clint Hurdle and of course Mike Matheny.So, it would not surprise me if Molina ends up the bench coach for the Cardinals when he retires and eventually replaces Matheny as the manager.
Chris Carpenter for sure, and I’ve thought that for years. I remember when Shelby Miller was at Busch Stadium after he was drafted and seeing Chris standing in the bullpen watching him. He just seems to have an interest in coaching and working with other pitchers, plus he has not only the pitching knowledge to share but also the experience in handling injuries and adversity (unfortunately). And he certainly seems to have the respect of his teammates.
I definitely like the suggestion that Wes made on Scott Rolen, for the reasons that he said.
I’ve been on the Chris Carpenter for pitching coach bandwagon for as long as I can remember, and I’m not getting off it now.
Lots of great answers here. I do think we’ll see Carp as a pitching coach or some sort of instructor somewhere down the line and he’ll likely be a good one. And anything that gets Scott Rolen back into Cardinal red gets my full-throated endorsement.
I think it’d be nice to see Matt Holliday as a guest instructor in spring after his playing days are done. We’ve seen him take players under his wing on his own initiative, so getting some official time with new Cardinals could only benefit them.
I think I read recently that Rolen has no interest in coaching. Combining that with statements from other media-types that Rolen always had a real problem with authority and was never shy about his feelings about Tony in media sessions, etc., and I think Rolen as a coach would never really be able to settle in and be a “team player” for an organization, whether that means under a GM or a Manager. It’s sad, because stories of Rolen’s leadership role at times, and his experience, could make him a decent to great coach – and he was my favorite Cardinal when he was here :).To me, Carp’s experience mentoring young pitchers and “teaching” players like Ryan proves he has not only the ability to coach but also the desire to guide young men. Also, hearing Carp talk about continuity regarding the teachings of Dave Duncan made me think he would be the ideal candidate for a coaching job within an organization that wants to foster Duncan’s philosophies but worries about doing so without Dunc’s everyday presence. At WWU a year ago, Carp was steadfast and resolute in his belief in what he’s learned and could pass on.But, there’s a problem, and the problem is actually Chris Carpenter himself.
Carp has stated several times that he really struggles with being a leader when he can’t contribute on the field. He’s even referred to that sort of role as “not being a part of it.” That would have to change. Carp would have to force himself into a tough transition that would see his perspective shift from player to coach. It would also have to lead to a shift – not change, really, but shift – in how he leads. What Carp senses instinctively is the fact that non-players aren’t really effective when they try to lead like players – yell, lead by example, pull players aside, be the “enforcer”, etc. Instead, non-players have to lead a different way…a more subtle, “I’m available” kind of way while also mixing in just the right amount of self-initiated intervention and accountability. Consider Jim Edmonds’ recent comments about his awkwardness and hesitation when trying to learn that balance with young outfielders – when do you step in and say something and when do you wait for them to ask you a question?Ultimately, Carp would need to realize and accept what everyone else already realizes…the greatest asset Carp can offer the team is simply himself…Carp…The Ace. His presence within the organization can have significant impact. For a guy like Carp, that can be humbling and a little hard to believe/accept…especially for a guy who will likely feel like he’s not doing enough to help his team.
I hope you enjoyed reading my question and all the answers! If you would like to read some of the other questions in the roundtable, just go here. Thanks for reading! See you next time!