As expected after a press conference was called and reports (led by Katie Woo) of its substance were circulated, the St. Louis Cardinals named Oli Marmol the 51st manager in the club’s history. If you bet on Marmol getting the job 10 days ago when Mike Shildt was fired, you probably didn’t make much money because the odds on that had to be extremely, extremely low. This was telegraphed from the get-go. In fact, John Mozeliak noted that Marmol’s availability and how high they were on his managerial prospects allowed them to not hesitate when it became clear the “internal issues” (which, somehow, Mo thought was clearer than “philosophical differences”) were creating an untenable situation.
While we still don’t completely know the issues between the front office and Shildt, that’s in the past. The present is Marmol, who definitely seems to be on the same page as the front office and this new direction that they’ve been trying to go in the past couple of years. He was clear that he believes in what Jeff Albert is doing, acknowledging that there might be some tinkering in presentation and the like but the substance was good. He talked about collaboration with the front office and the data and information that has to be weighed in decisions. Mozeliak tried to dispel the “puppet” narrative, noting that Marmol would have plenty of input on the whole thing, though I doubt that satisfied anyone that really believes Marmol is just a yes man.
It’s fun to note that Marmol is younger than some of his veterans, most notably Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. (I’m still on the Wainwright for bench coach bandwagon, at least on days he’s not pitching.) However, as he said, if you do the job right, people respect you no matter the age. If you do the job wrong, people don’t respect you no matter the age. There’s a lot of truth in that. I imagine most of the players have seen Marmol in the coaching role long enough to treat him like they treat any other manager. It helps that the Cardinals have often made a point of getting professionals when they are signing, acquiring, or drafting players. I don’t expect there will be any clubhouse issues.
Other than that, we wait. The rest of the staff is supposed to be finalized soon. There didn’t seem to be any indication that there would be another opening on the staff save for the bench coach role. Reportedly, they are looking into Skip Schumaker for that gig. Normally you’d pair an inexperienced manager with a veteran, but they didn’t do that with Shildt and a veteran manager might not be on board with how things are going these days. I feel like Schumaker makes too much sense for it not to happen. After all, they seem to like to have their manager-in-waiting in the bench coach role and while Marmol signed a three-year deal and shouldn’t be going anywhere for a long while, the club probably isn’t above buying a little insurance. (Unlike when it comes down to acquiring a player that could be insurance.)
Best of luck to Marmol and hopefully the twist ending for this Oliver is a World Championship!