The Cardinals have removed the “interim” tag from Mike Shildt’s title, making him the club’s new manager. He’s been given a contract through the end of the 2020 season, as USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold first reported and the club later confirmed:
The #Stlcards will announce that Mike Shildt is now their manager, stripping away the interim title— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 28, 2018
Shildt has done an absolutely spectacular job since taking over as the team’s interim manager on July 15. On the night Mike Matheny was fired, the Cardinals were 47-46, 7.5 games out of first place in the NL Central and four games out of the second NL Wild Card spot. Under Shildt’s watch, they’ve gone 26-12 — giving them an overall 73-58 record for the season — and are a half-game up for the first NL Wild Card spot while trailing the division-leading Cubs by 4.5 games. Granted, the roster has changed quite a bit since the managerial change was made, with veterans such as Greg Holland, Tommy Pham, Sam Tuivailala, and Tyler Lyons being jettisoned (and Dexter Fowler going down with a season-ending injury) and rookies such as Harrison Bader, Dakota Hudson, Tyler O’Neill, and Yairo Munoz being promoted or getting bigger opportunities. But it’s almost impossible for an interim manager to do any more to turn a club around, and unless the Cardinals had just gone into the situation with the mindset that Shildt had absolutely no chance at the job, it’s hard to understand how he wouldn’t have ended up with the full-time job.
The 50-year-old Shildt has been in the Cardinals organization since 2004, managing at short-season Johnson City, Double-A Springfield, and Triple-A Memphis before working his way up to the major-league coaching staff, where he served as a quality-control coach, third-base coach, and bench coach under Matheny before ascending to the interim manager position.
Prior to the announcement, it had been speculated that individuals such as former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and accomplished former major-league outfielder Carlos Beltran, who played in St. Louis in 2012-13, could be candidates for the job. It’s unknown if the team conducted any other interviews prior to naming Shildt the full-time manager.