St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters on Friday afternoon that manager Oli Marmol will return next year despite a disappointing season that could result in a last-place finish.
Marmol, 37, led the Cardinals to 93 wins and a division crown in 2022. St. Louis has been one of the most disappointing teams in the majors this year, however. The Cardinals enter Friday with a 65-81 record, putting them in last place and 17 games out in the National League Central.
The Cardinals have not had a losing season since 2007. Additionally, they haven't finished last in their division since 1990. The former is a formality at this point, and the latter inches toward being one with each passing day.
We know the typical arc of such things. When things fall apart, it's usually the manager who goes first, which in turn buys the front office more time to correct the course. In this instance, though, Marmol is perhaps a bit more yoked to Mozeliak than might usually be the case. Marmol was hired prior to the 2022 season for his willingness and capacity to work closely with the front office when it comes to in-game tactics and deployment of rostered players. Any firing of Marmol would thus reflect poorly on Mozeliak and company since he's mostly an extension of them. That would also put the Cardinals on their fourth manager since 2018 - not an appealing trend for a franchise renown for its stability. If Marmol is let go during the 2024 season, then it will likely be because the front office's winter decisions did not yield the desired results. That's to say it would likely herald additional change.
Marmol's season has been rife with controversies, an uncharacteristic development for a Cardinals organization that usually keeps a low profile. Those include him benching and publicly calling out outfielder Tyler O'Neill for a lack of hustle and benching free-agent signing Willson Contreras before later relenting and allowing him to again serve as the catcher.
Nevertheless, Marmol will get at least the start of next season to get the Cardinals back on track.