Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 11/14/11
ST. LOUIS The first order of business for new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny appears to be convincing Jose Oquendo to stick around. Despite serving as the Cardinals third base coach the last 11 years, Oquendo was not selected as the replacement for the recently retired Tony La Russa. And the big question appears to be whether or not a bridge was burned with Oquendo and if he will want to return despite being passed over in favor of someone with no prior managing or coaching experience in professional baseball. "I've already spoken with him and I think I know how he's thinking about things and what he envisions," said general manager John Mozeliak. "But I do want the new manager to sit down with each individual before we go forward. "Our hope is that he will be back with us." Pitching coach Dave Duncan is under contract for next season and Mozeliak said the Cardinals fully expect him to return in the same role next season. But the future of the rest of the 2011 staff remains less clear. It appears the Cardinals will promote Triple-A manager Chris Maloney to the staff in some capacity, but his role remains unclear. He's coached third base during his time in the minor leagues and could take over as third base coach with the Cardinals. If that occurs, the Cardinals could give the bench coach job to Oquendo. The move would be seen as a promotion and likely come with a raise, helping keep Oquendo happy after being snubbed in favor of Matheny. Moving to a bench coach role would also help Oquendo better prepare himself for future big league managing opportunities that he will likely seek. When asked about the bench coach position Monday, Mozeliak's answer seemed to make Oquendo a possibility for that spot. "Ideally it would be someone that has an identity with this club and understands it," Moeliak said. "Because we have some strong personalities with this team and it's a very diverse roster. Keeping that connection would be very important to all of us." Another scenario would have longtime Cardinals bench coach Joe Pettini return as bench coach and Maloney taking over as the first base coach should Dave McKay elect to retire. The status of hitting coach Mark McGwire remains unclear as well. The club would like to have McGwire return but doing so without his longtime friend La Russa probably makes it a tougher choice. "As a staff in general, everybody just needs to be on board," Matheny said. "We need to be all as one and thinking as one with the common goal of day by day and doing things the right way day by day. "I think the bench coach in general is going to be somebody to work together with me as we challenge each other. That will be a fun process to go through." John Mabry and Cal Eldred, longtime friends of Matheny's and former Cardinals, also could receive consideration to join the staff as well. Eldred seems to be a logical fit as the bullpen coach should they elect to not bring Derek Lilliquist back while Mabry could be an option as the assistant hitting coach should Mike Aldrete make a rumored move to the Oakland Athletics. Former Cardinal Andy Van Slyle, who coached previously with the Detroit Tigers, lives in St. Louis and could be an option for a coaching position as well. "One of the themes we are going to try and keep is keeping some of the current members around but there may be a small amount of churn," Mozeliak said. "The key thing when we look at putting this staff together is who are the right people to support Mike and make sure this club is still successful and those will be the factors that weigh into this. "We certainly had a great coaching staff this past year with the success of winning a world championship but at the same token, it is an opportunity to insert some new energy as well and we want to take a close look at that before we get too far ahead of ourselves." Fueling speculation that Maloney will be promoted to the staff in some capacity is Mozeliak's goal to fill the staff internally. If that does occur, Double-A manager Ron Pop' Warner could be promoted to manage the Triple-A club in Memphis. Matheny plans to meet either in person or on the phone with the current coaching staff before any decisions are made. The Cardinals hope to announce the final big league coaching staff by the end of the week.
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