St. Louis Cardinals’ managerial search was not really a search

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Oliver Marmol #37 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Oliver Marmol #37 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals managerial search was not really a search — and it raises questions about the process that landed on Oli Marmol.

When the St. Louis Cardinals fired Mike Shildt, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made it clear that the team would strongly consider their internal candidates. Bench coach Oli Marmol was immediately connected to the job, considered the strong favorite to replace Shildt as manager.

Indeed, Marmol was hired as the next manager of the Cardinals. But in a search that spanned 10 days, the Cardinals didn’t interview many outside candidates, with Katie Woo of The Athletic reporting that her sense after talking to Mozeliak and team chairman Bill Dewitt that it was less of a “managerial search” and more of a “How well is Marmol going to fit?” as manager of the Cardinals.

I have … some thoughts on this. Mainly, why did the Cardinals not open the search up and talk to other candidates on different teams? Sure, Marmol may have been their focus, but managerial searches like this are 1) where you can learn a lot about other managerial candidates and 2) about what makes other teams so successful, allowing you to improve your own internal practices.

Of course, Marmol may have been their guy even after that, but gathering more information is never a bad thing. So it was a bit puzzling to see the Cardinals rush their search. But now that Marmol is officially the manager, his first responsibility is filling out his coaching staff, which is going to stay largely intact. The one spot he will have to fill, however, is his former position — bench coach — and the team has talked to former outfielder and current San Diego Padres coach Skip Schumaker about a spot on his staff, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Marmol, 35, would be wise to surround himself with smart, up-and-coming coaches and that is exactly what Schumaker is. It would be an intriguing start to his tenure, though until the games start and we see how he fares at the helm, questions will persist about how the Cardinals went about the process of naming him as their next manager.

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