The St. Louis Cardinals enter the 2021 offseason with a new manager in Oli Marmol, and must put him in a good position to succeed right away.
General manager Mike Girsch felt his vision for the organization aligned better with Marmol than previous skipper Mike Shildt, so he pulled the trigger despite the Cardinals making the playoffs last season. Shildt was said to be shocked by the move, but thanked the organization and moved on.
Shildt will surely receive another opportunity soon, but for the Cardinals, this starts an all-important offseason in which they hope to build around the rapidly-emerging core of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.
With that, though, comes a lot of responsibility.
Cardinals cannot afford to ruin relationship with Nolan Arenado
This is an easy one, but Arenado enters the offseason with a player option, and he’s expected to stay in St. Louis long-term. Even if he does choose to enter free agency, it’s likely only to get a more tenable long-term offer from the Cardinals.
This means Girsch will be put to the test almost immediately but Arenado and his agent. The Cardinals cannot and should not low-ball a player of Arenado’s caliber, because not only will it impact their standing with the third baseman, but other star-caliber players hoping to take their talents to St. Louis.