10 bold predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024

As we turn the page on 2023, I made 10 bold predictions for the Cardinals organization in 2024.

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Prediction #6 - Oli Marmol or Yadier Molina are gone after 2024

Remember how I said there are some major decisions looming for the current and future front office? Well, one of those I believe will rear its head by the end of 2024 is deciding to either extend manager Oli Marmol or hire Yadier Molina as the club's next manager.

Marmol is a young manager who's been identified by Mozeliak as the Cardinals' next leader. Mozeliak remains high on him, but he did open the door for the ownership group potentially not being as committed to Marmol as Mozeliak is. This quote from Mozeliak on Marmol comes from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (subscription required)

"All of us understand the year we just came from,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations. “And I’m very bullish on him. But I also work for an owner, and we want things to get turned around. And by no means is this putting all of the pressure on him. I don’t want that done. We are a team. And as a team, we have to change our trajectory from what happened in 2023. I’m very optimistic that Oli is someone who is going to be around for a long time."

John Mozeliak

Most of the time, Mozeliak keeps things close to the chest, but occasionally, he'll give tidbits of information on behind-the-scenes conversations, and this feels like one of those cases. Saying he's bullish on Marmol but also saying he works for an owner indicates that although there weren't mass changes to personnel on the front office or coaching staff after 2023, the leash will be short next year. Makes a lot of sense.

But I also think this has to do with the changing of the guard that is coming in St. Louis. It doesn't make a ton of sense for John Mozeliak to have a full say in who the manager is in 2025 or beyond, especially with Yadier Molina looming.

Molina's next gig is going to be as a manager. If he was going to be a bench coach, he would have done it this past season. It feels like the only thing that is going to lure him to a full-time commitment is as a manager, and that puts the Cardinals in a tough position this coming year.

Some people will say it should be an easy choice - just let go of Marmol and make Molina the manager. As much as I love Molina and think he'll be a great manager, there are a lot of strings that come with him being the next manager, and I'm not sure if the Cardinals are ready for that. What if Molina becomes the manager and things go poorly? How does that relationship go for the next few decades with their franchise icon?

The other reason I believe one of the two will be gone is that I'm not sure Molina is going to want to wait much longer for a manager gig. He has a lot going on in Puerto Rico and is enjoying his time with family, but it's clear he's itching to manager with his new role with the Cardinals and the manager gig he already does have aboard. If Marmol gets an extension after 2024, is Molina really going to turn down interviews for other openings around baseball?

There are so many factors at play here. How will the Cardinals perform in 2024? What does ownership want? What does the next regime think of Marmol and Molina? Does Yadi want to commit to that full-time right now? Is he willing to wait longer if Marmol sticks around long-term? Only time will tell, but it feels more likely than not to me that one of these two is elsewhere next year.