UPDATE: The Cardinals have hired Matheny. Wow. Between him and Robin Ventura in Chicago, no managerial experience is the new thing for 2012.
The Cards are going to formally announce Matheny tomorrow.
Saturday: The Cardinals are expected to name Tony La Russa’s replacement at some point before Thanksgiving, and possibly as soon as next week.
Six candidates have interviewed for the job: Triple-A Memphis manager Chris Maloney, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo and former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny. The St. Louis higher-ups are not expected to interview more.
So where does this all stand? Is there a front-runner? And can any of the names above be ruled out?
It’s hard to say. The Cardinals are keeping tight-lipped as usual and the beat writers who cover the team have been unable to pick up strong leads. But there is a little something brewing.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a column Saturday handicapping the field, and while he states that the rankings are only a matter of opinion and speculation, he’s about as close to the team’s thinking as it gets. And his best guess for a current favorite would be Matheny.
Then comes this tweet from SI.com’s Jon Heyman:
Matheny has no managing experience and turned 41 years old just last month, but the feeling is that he would make the transition from La Russa a smooth one and that he would operate well with the front office and coaching staff that is currently set in place. He’d also be cheaper, presumably, than Francona.
We can’t be certain that Matheny is truly the front-runner for the gig, but there’s certainly some buzz.