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It’s been repeated to the point of cliche: Among fans, managers get too much credit and receive too much blame. And then there’s the bench coach, a job carried out almost exclusively in the shadows (of the dugout). After Hall-of-Famer Tony La Russa retired, the Cardinals plugged his replacement, Mike Matheny, into the manager job.
Prior to Eric’s post last week on Aldrete departing the Cards for the A’s, had I seen Aldrete in public, I’d have been struck with the inescapable notion that I recognized him from somewhere but, try as I might’ve, I would not have been able to place him. Lance Lynn heads into his first year of arbitration after three solid years as a starter for the Cardinals.
Adding a righthanded hitter to the bench to complement Matt Adams seems at odds with general manager John Mozeliak's declaration that the Cardinals view the first baseman as a 600-plate-appearance player.
Any fanciful notion that the Cardinals might cut bait on Matheny after the club’s third straight October appearance and the organization inking the manager to a three-year extension that spans from 2014 through 2016 was proven all the more off-base by the joint press conference the manager and general manager John Mozeliak had on the Monday after the Giants’ NLCS victory over St. Bell was not an incumbent coach like McGwire or a good organizational soldier like Lilliquist, Maloney, or Miller. It was slightly surprising to see Bell, who had only been on the staff for one year, get the position. The 42-year-old Bell played for the Cardinals from 1995 to 1998 in the midst of a 12-year big-league career that also saw him spend time with the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Milwaukee Brewers.
Bell broke into the big-league coaching ranks in 2013, serving as the third base coach on Dale Sveum‘s staff with the Chicago Cubs.
Interestingly, the Cards have now will have had five different assistant hitting coaches in five seasons, with each of the four previous coaches to fill the position having ascended to bigger roles.
Duncan had missed time in the second half of the 2011 regular season when his wife, Jeanine, has surgery on August 21 to treat brain cancer.  On the last day of the regular season when the Cardinals clinched the last playoff spot, Duncan returned to the club and stayed through the World Championship that did not occur until October 28.
Early this season, analysts and fans began to notice a slight protuberance and swelling on his right eye. A guy gets a terrible disease – one that is unbelieveably painful and leaves scars on the nervous system for years – and you complain about how you feel when you look at him? Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2014 in Jupiter, Florida. Gone from Matheny’s staff were La Russa stalwarts first base coach Dave McKay and bench coach Joe Pettini.

Both sides have expressed interest in a contract extension, but reaching an agreement could prove difficult. The Cardinals continued their practice of promoting from within the organization in replacing Big Mac. He was the third assistant hitting coach on Matheny’s staff and presumably hired with input from the manager and probably Mabry, the hitting coach. Louis Cardinals Lose RHP Eric Fornataro on Waivers to Washington Nationals by Patrick KarrakerSt.
Louis Cardinals in 2014, David Bell will have bigger responsibilities in 2015, as it was announced on Monday that he will become the team’s new bench coach. First base coach Chris Maloney, who had an extensive track record as a manager in the Cardinals’ system, and third base coach Jose Oquendo, who has long been considered a future managerial candidate, were expected to get consideration for the job. Aldrete served in the role from 2008-2011, making it a crucial position on the staff as he focused on lefthanded hitters while the main hitting coach, Mark McGwire, handled the righties. When McGwire decided to join the Los Angeles Dodgers staff following that season, Mabry ascended to the head role and Molina replaced him. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan (sitting) and manager Tony La Russa watch their team take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium in St. His coaching career began in 1978 with the Indians, then joined former teammate Tony La Russa’s Chicago White Sox in 1983 when they made the playoffs. Louis Cardinals Skipper Tony LaRussa is one of baseball’s greatest managers of all time. Brushing it off as a minor, albeit painful, case of conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye, LaRussa was still just as focused, committed and even fun-loving, still hitting fungoes in batting practice (even with one eye swollen shut). Fans can see a manager’s tactical decisions and read his explanations or, as the case may be, non-explanations for such moves while simultaneously being left largely in the dark regarding the people managing part of the job.
Joe Torre’s right-hand man, Don Zimmer, was a media magnet—as much dugout mascot as coach to the public.
The rookie manager’s bench coach would be Aldrete, who served as the assistant hitting coach for the Cardinals from 2008 through the miraculous #11in11 World Series run. The duo sat side-by-side, a visual reminder of their united partnership, as they assessed 2014 and looked ahead to 2015. Bell fills the role vacated by Mike Aldrete last week when he decided to accept the same position with the Oakland Athletics.

He made his debut managing for the Carolina Mudcats, the Cincinnati Reds’ Double-A affiliate, from 2009 to 2011.
Since then, the two have worked together as manager and pitching coach joining Oakland in 1985 and the Cardinals in 1995. He is one of only two managers to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues, and is within the top five in nearly every category measured for winning coaches, not to mention the Cards are never too far removed from first place in the National League’s Central Division. But even in the case of Zimmer, as prominent a bench coach as exists in recent memory, the exact nature of his role is difficult to define.
It was more a coaching-staff shift than shakeup, which was understandable for the reigning world champions.
The plans for Carlos Martinez (eighth-inning setup) and Randy Choate (trade because he’s difficult to use), among others, showed that Matheny’s idea of player utilization will be a driving force even if it is not the driving force behind the Cardinals’ Hot Stove moves. He was promoted to the same role with their Triple-A team, the Louisville Bats, for the 2012 season.
Every Day.Build your own custom daily newsletter with updates on your favorite teams, sent directly to your inbox. With medicine, rest and other doctors’ orders being fulfilled, LaRussa should be able to return after the Cardinals road trip to Chicago and Cincinnati. It’s easy to categorize Zimmer as the experienced Baseball Man and sounding board for Torre, though with Torre’s own lifetime of experience, the designated hitter, and Mariano Rivera, one wonders how often sounding was needed.
The move could also be interpreted as an endorsement of the Cardinals’ batting philosophy under Mark McGwire, who remained on as the 2012 hitting coach. Was Matheny’s tendency to leave starters in during Aldrete’s time as bench coach in spite of the bench coach’s counsel?
Louis had previously promoted Derek Lilliquist from bullpen coach to pitching coach after Dave Duncan retired and promoted Chris Malone from Triple-A manager to first base coach for the departed McKay.
Louis for Texas and the higher paying first base coach (and catching instructor) position and the Cards replaced him with David Bell, who was then the Cubs’ third base coach, as the club’s assistant hitting coach.

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