Ex-Cardinals manager Mike Shildt declines to detail differences that led to surprising ousting

Late last week, the St. Louis Cardinals surprisingly fired manager Mike Shildt following the club’s NL Wild Card Game loss to the Dodgers eight days earlier. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak cited a “philosophical difference in the direction” of the team moving forward as the reason behind Shildt’s dismissal.

“We decided internally it would be best to separate now,” Mozeliak said. “… We have determined that we have a philosophical difference in the direction of our Major League club. Where we felt the team was going, we were struggling to get on the same page.”

On Monday, Shildt spoke to reporters for the first time since being let go, though he declined to elaborate on the “philosophical difference” Mozeliak mentioned last week. Shildt instead expressed gratitude to the organization he first joined in 2004, and allowed him to grow from minor league coach and big league manager.

“I invested my heart, soul, and most of my professional career in helping maintain and be a part of an organization that I cared more about than I cared about my own career,” Shildt said during a Zoom call Monday. “I was taught not to talk out of school, and while clearly there were differences that led to this parting of ways, out of respect to the organization and the people who run it, I can only express my gratitude.”

Shildt added: “All the philosophies that were shared over the many years — most of which together — allowed us to part ways as professional friends. What differences there were will be left unsaid publicly by me … Let’s move forward. Let’s take care of the integrity and future of the organization.”

Shildt, 53, replaced Mike Matheny on an interim basis in Aug. 2018, then was given the job permanently following that season. The Cardinals went 252-199 in parts of four seasons under Shildt, including winning the 2019 NL Central title. Shildt was named NL Manager of the Year that season. St. Louis has gone to the postseason each of the last three years.

It has already been reported that the Padres plan to interview Shildt, though not before digging into the reasons he was let go by the Cardinals. Mozeliak has indicated St. Louis will consider internal managerial candidates. The smart money is on them interviewing at least one external candidate as well.

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