Cheap Seats

St. Louis Cardinals promote David Bell to bench coach

I was hopeful that the Cardinals would do something bold with their open bench coach job, getting manager Mike Matheny an experienced sounding board to help him hone his in-game strategy.

Failing that, I was hopeful the Redbirds would bring in a past star -- Jim Edmonds or Chris Carpenter come to mind -- to help perpetuate the institutional knowledge of the organization while tapping into one of those players vast wealth of baseball knowledge and competitive spirit.

Edmonds and Carpenter are prime examples of the type of players the Cardinals want to develop. They're both the sort who would rather be drug off the field in a body cast than admit defeat. They're students of the game who know what it takes to succeed and how to get the edge both in the off-season and between the lines. Yet their on the periphery of the Cardinals world, serving as part time instructors.

They need to be around the team all the time.

Instead, the Cardinals have announced that it was decided to promote assistant hitting coach David Bell to bench coach.


What, exactly, will Bell bring to the team as bench coach that wasn't available when he was bench coach? Instead of hiring a person who can make an impact in the dugout, they kicked the can down the road and promoted someone already in the organization. So now, apparently, the chance to improve the mix relies on someone low enough on the baseball totem pole that he's willing to be John Mabry's assistant.

It seems that the Cardinals decided a few years ago that the coaching staff doesn't matter. They lost the the senior manager in MLB and replaced him with a guy that had zero coaching experience. Then they lost the dean of pitching coaches and replaced him with a relatively inexperienced bullpen coach. Now the standard move is to promote someone from within the organization every time there is an opening on the staff.

Sometimes is good to bring in new blood and get a set of fresh eyes on a situation. It keeps people honest with themselves when there is change and they have to adapt to a new situation. While I can appreciate the benefits of keeping lower level employees happy by making them feel as if they have a future in the organization, it seems to limit your upward mobility as a group to know that you're never going to bring in an idea from outside the box.

I don't mean to turn up my nose at Bell. But I didn't hear a peep about the Redbirds even interviewing someone from outside the locker room for this job. It just seems like a lazy hire and the easy thing to do.