A day after the St. Louis Cardinals announced assistant hitting coach Mark Budaska had been relieved of his duties, Manager Mike Shildt elaborated on why the move was made.
“Clearly, it’s a decision that didn’t want to have to make but I’m comfortable and confident that ultimately it’s the right decision,” Shildt began. “I know (Mozeliak) mentioned the fact there were some philosophical differences and that would be accurate, but from my chair–I always encourage within our staff, within our clubhouse to have a very open, honest dialogue about what you think and feel. I welcome and we welcome varying opinions, I think that’s how we grow. We also want to be coming from a like-minded place when we do it. The only thing I’ll elaborate on is the fact that it’s not that there was a difference of opinion, it was how it was ultimately consistently handled.”
The dismissal of Budaska, who had been in the Cardinals organization since 2008 and was promoted to the assistant hitting coach last season, was a surprise to most but apparently did not happen overnight.
“Collectively it was made, but I ultimately made the decision,” Shildt said. “It’s a very difficult decision. It’s not one that was taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination. It was done after multiple internal conversations to try and find a solution. I think it’s always fair to be solution based and be honest about where we’re going and how we’re going and how we’re doing it. After a while, it got to a point where we just, I made the decision for the greater good and moving forward we make the transition and bring Jobel Jimenez up from our Triple A staff, a highly respected instructor for us, so we made the move.”
Stressing there was not a personal issue with Budaska, the move underscores the Cardinals continuing to look for the balance between the “old school” approach that “Buddha” brought and the more “new school” way of analytics that hitting coach Jeff Albert employs.
“I think it’s just more about creating some consistent clarity and messaging,” Shildt said. “It doesn’t have to be kumbaya and everybody work off the same script all the time, but there does need to be clarity in what that looks like and ultimately for the player, that communication being consistent and supportive and I didn’t feel like that was taking place on a consistent basis.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com