The St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs just four times between 2000 and 2015, while making the World Series four times and winning twice. The franchise was seen as one of the gold standards in the league and had seemingly undergone a successful transition at manager from Tony LaRussa to Mike Matheny. Well, the last two and a half years haven’t been as kind to the Cardinals, and on Saturday it cost Matheny his job.
St. Louis, 48-46, have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons and enter the All-Star break seven-and-a-half games back of the Cubs in the division race and four games back in the battle for the Wild Card. The franchise hasn’t missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since 1997-1999 and clearly, executives thought a change was needed in order to avoid that fate.
In addition to the team’s performance on the field, there were incidents off the field, like the situation between closer Bud Norris and reliever Jordan Hicks, that seemed to factor into the decision. Either way, over the course of his six-and-a-half seasons at the helm of the squad, Matheny went 592-474 with a World Series appearance back in 2013, when the Cards lost to the Red Sox in six games.
While the Cardinals are looking for a new manager, the New York Mets could be looking for a new ace if they don’t negotiate a new contract with Jacob deGrom. Reports this week indicated that deGrom’s agent had told the team that the 30-year-old righty is interested in locking into a long-term deal to stay in the Big Apple.
But, that came with a caveat.
deGrom’s agent, Brodie van Wagenen of CAA, told reporters that if the Mets do not share that same interest in a long-term contract, the team should immediately begin looking for a trade.
That’s not quite an outright trade request from deGrom, but it’s as close as one can get. In fairness to deGrom, he is certainly out-performing his contract, as through 123 innings pitched this season he’s allowed just 23 earned runs, good for a minuscule 1.68 ERA. He becomes arbitration-eligible after this season, but the team still has two years of control through the arbitration process before he could become a free agent in 2021.
For more on these stories and the rest of the week in baseball, check out the video above.