I have to admit that I am a little bit disappointed that Mark McGwire left the Cardinals to take the same job with another franchise.
Say what you want about their being no loyalty in professional sports. But the Cardinals gave McGwire a valuable opportunity to be their hitting coach when he was a baseball pariah thanks to his steriod use -- not to mention his lies about it. Still he turned down a contract with St. Louis to go to a club that goes through hitting coaches every time the wind blows.
It also doesn't wash with me that McGwire wanted to be closer to home. His wife is from here, for crying out loud. If he wanted to be with his family AND be the Cardinals hitting coach it would be reasonable that maybe they relocate to St. Louis. But the Cardinals reportedly offered him a contract extension and McGwire turned it down for bluer pastures.
All of that being said, there are other talented candidates out there. And one I would like to see the Cardinals give serious consideration is Larry Walker.
The former Cardinals right fielder expressed some interest in being a coach when he retired in 2005. But he said he wanted to step away for a little while and recharge. Is seven years enough time to get the batteries juiced up?
While McGwire was a dramatic home run hitter, Walker was maybe the ultimate offensive weapon at the plate. Sure, he hit his fair share of homers. But Walker was a guy who sprayed wicked line drives all over the field. I believe his experience as a hitter would be a great benefit for Matt Holliday and Allen Craig, guys who are basically line drive hitters capable of hitting for high average and power.
The problem is that the Birds have in recent years basically had two pitching coaches, the primary guy and an assistant who basically deals with the lefties. Walker is a lefty, so I don't know what that hire would mean for John Mabry, the lefty specialist.