(Busch Stadium) The return to third base coaching duties will finish after one season as Jose Oquendo has decided to step down from his role with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“He feels like being closer to home, working out of Jupiter makes a lot more sense for him,” shared Team President John Mozeliak, who had multiple conversations with Oquendo on the decision. “There’s no doubt he’s going to be a loss. For two years, I told all of you that it wasn’t a loss but it’s a loss. I’m glad he’s staying in our organization, I think he’s going to bring value to our minor leagues and he can keep a pulse on what’s going on. I wouldn’t be shocked if you see him from time to time in St. Louis, but his day-to-day role will be functioning out of Jupiter.”
After taking a leave of absence from the role at the start of 2016 because of knee surgery, Oquendo chose not to return to the role until last season. His decision to again work out of Florida sets off a domino of change to the Cardinals coaching staff.
“Right now, the way we are addressing that is we will move Pop Warner to third base,” Mozeliak said. “He has a history of being a third base coach. When we first loss Jose, a lot of people were telling me (Pop) should get that job so I have a lot of confidence he can step right in.”
With Warner moving to coach third base, the bench coach role will now be manned by Oliver Marmol. His vacated first base coaching spot will be one of two open spots the Cardinals still need to fill.
George Greer has been asked to return to his minor league role as hitting coordinator for the Cardinals and Mark Budaska will remain with the big league club as the second hitting coach. That leaves first base coach and head batting coach as open.
“Stubby Clapp will be considered for either one of those jobs,” Mozeliak said. “We are just sort of navigating what that may or may not look like over the next couple of weeks. But there is a high probability he will be a part of our Major League staff in 2019.”
Manager for the last two seasons at Memphis (AAA), Clapp has also been rumored to be a managerial candidate for the Toronto Blue Jays. Likewise, Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque has also been attached to the general manager role with the New York Mets.
“Our policy has always been that if the organization that is looking to interview wants to announce their interviewing, then we will acknowledge that,” Mozeliak said. “But if they are not, it’s not our responsibility to do so because it’s their hire. And so at this point, I have nothing really more to add to that other than they have been talked about in the rumor world.”
Whether Clapp moves up to join the Cardinals or leaves the organization, the change will create another vacancy as the team will have to hire a manager for Memphis. Mozeliak said that is still being evaluated if the move will be internal or an outside candidate will be brought into the mix.
photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports