The St. Louis Cardinals and Mike Matheny reached an agreement Thursday on a three-year contract extension to keep the manager with the organization through the 2020 season. passed along official confirmation of the extension. The announcement included comments from Cardinals principal owner and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr.

“Mike has continued the Cardinals tradition of winning in his first five years as manager and we are happy to extend his contract leading our club on the field through 2020,” DeWitt said.

Matheny spent five seasons with the Cardinals from 2000-2004 as a catcher during a playing career that spanned 13 years. The Ohio native won three of his four career Gold Glove Awards during that time.

He was hired as the team’s manager following the 2011 campaign after the retirement of longtime St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa. While it represented a risk for the Cardinals to replace a team legend with a first-time manager, he’s proved up to the task.

Matheny has guided the team to a 461-349 record, four postseason berths and three NL Central titles during his first five years in charge. One of those playoff appearances resulted in a trip to the 2013 World Series, where the Cardinals came up short against the Boston Red Sox.

St. Louis is coming off its first playoff-less season since 2010, though. It went 86-76, finishing one game behind the wild-card entrants, the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants.

After the Cardinals missed out on one of those final spots, Matheny stated they simply hit their stride a little too late, per David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat:

There’s no disappointment in winning the last four games. I was waiting for our best run, and we started to put it together. You talk about who’s that hot team, and we had the makings of that. I guarantee you there are teams out there that are plenty happy the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t continuing to play.

Recent history suggests it won’t be a long playoff drought. The Cardinals haven’t gone more than two years in a row without making the postseason in the current millennium. It’s made them one of the best franchises in sports, right alongside the likes of the New England Patriots and San Antonio Spurs.

A seamless transition from La Russa to Matheny is one of the many reasons for that run of consistent success. Even though they didn’t get the desired result this season, the extension shows the front office remains confident the former catcher is the right fit to lead the team moving forward.


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