The St. Louis Cardinals last had a managerial vacancy after the 2021 season, in which they were eliminated by the postseason early in the Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Many Cards fans blamed Mike Shildt for putting Alex Reyes in the game late, which immediately backfired.
Yet, just two years later and the Cards aren't any better off. St. Louis hired Oli Marmol, who made the playoffs in his first season only to plummet down the NL Central standings in 2023. Marmol survived the year, though many in St. Louis thought he should've been fired as well.
Marmol's coaching style caught some of his own players off-guard. He questioned Tyler O'Neill's effort, despite the young outfielder's injury concerns. He and the Cardinals front office removed Willson Contreras from the catchers spot midseason, only to reinsert him after a few weeks off.
Did the Cardinals make the wrong decision to hire Oli Marmol?
Marmol could have a bounceback season with these same Cardinals in 2024, but his inability to keep his own clubhouse from turning against him, and some struggles in rotation and bullpen management suggest otherwise. It doesn't help that Skip Schumaker, who was Marmol's competition that offseason, has since won NL Manager of the Year with the Miami Marlins.
Schumaker led the Marlins to the postseason in 2023 despite a limited payroll and crowded NL East division. In his rookie season as a manager, Schumaker proved that he would have been the correct hire in St. Louis. He's a former Cardinal himself, and won the 2011 World Series with the team.
Schumaker received 72 votes in the end, beating out veteran skippers like Craig Counsell (now of the Cubs) and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves. Snitker's team won 104 games, but the efforts by Schumaker with a lesser roster was enough to sway the voters.
John Mozeliak and the Cardinals don't have a time machine at their disposal, but if they did, you can be they'd hire Schumaker over Marmol in a heartbeat.