As the St. Louis Cardinals embark on their search to replace pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley, here are a few internal candidates that could be up for some consideration (in alphabetical order):
Okay, so he’s not really a candidate. But just in case you missed the news, yes, John Mozeliak acknowledged that he had spoken with Carp recently–but he quickly clarified that the team Hall of Famer is not a candidate for the position.
“Met with him a couple of weeks ago,” said Mozeliak. “In terms of future role, that’s something we are discussing. I will say, just so we don’t leap to any conclusions, he’s not ready to commit full-time to a position so it would be one of those hybrid-type roles we’ve cleverly come up with in the past.”
Technically, Eldred is no longer an internal candidate–but he was previously as a Special Assistant to John Mozeliak and had the trust not just of the front office, but also of former teammate Mike Matheny.
Though he would be regarded more as “old-school” than leaning towards the more modern approach the Cardinals seek, Eldred was a clear and effective communicator as an analyst with FSN and could perhaps blend the two philosophies.
–The pitching coach at Memphis (AAA) the last five seasons, Eversgerd has spent 15 seasons as a coach in the Cardinals organization and in 2012 was recognized with the George Kissell Award, which is presented annually by the organization for excellence in player development.
Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Michael Wacha, and Luke Weaver are just some of the arms he’s had under his watch.
Besides the young arms that have received his guidance over the years, Eversgerd also brings former big league experience to the table. He made 40 appearances in making his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 1994 and spent time in Montreal and Texas before finishing his career with St. Louis in 1998.
Already a Special Assistant to the General Manager, Franklin recorded 82 saves during the 2009-10 seasons with St. Louis. While it appears he was headed towards more of a front office role, perhaps this affords an opportunity to get back to the field.
Like a couple of these other candidates, he lacks the coaching experience but brings the experience of having actually done the job at the highest level.
–With 300 career saves Isringhausen is also the St. Louis all-time saves leader (217). He is part of the Cardinals Core program that works with minor leaguers as a character coach. Isringhausen has also done some roving instruction for the organization.
While not in an official capacity, Izzy worked with the pitching staff at SIUE and has been a guest instructor at Spring Training.
–The Cardinals Senior Minor League Pitching Coordinator, Leveque was promoted to the position in 2013 after serving as a pitching coach at various levels in the organization the previous seven years.
Back when Jeff Luhnow was with the Cardinals, Leveque was praised as providing video analysis which was then applied for analytics at all levels and is said to fit the “modern” approach Mozeliak described the team is now looking for.
–Named the Texas League Coach of the Year this past season, Simontacchi has spent the last three seasons at Springfield (AA) as the pitching coach and spent two seasons before that in the same role with Peoria (A).
Similar to Eversgerd, the large majority of young arms over the last few seasons have worked under his guidance at some point before being called up to the Cardinals.
In 2002, he was named the St. Louis Cardinals Rookie Pitcher of the Year by the St. Louis BBWAA and overall made 53 starts in his three seasons with the club.
Simontacchi is currently in Venezuela to coach Winter Ball.
photo credit: STLBaseballWeekly.com