The 2023 season Cardinals made it easy to see that manager Oli Marmol likes to play favorites, even to the team's detriment. Whether it be overuse or not using the player at all, Marmol made questionable decisions that led to a nightmare season ending with a 71-91 record for the last-place team.
While it seems inevitable that Marmol will be back in 2024, it's still being determined who from the coaching staff will return. Fans seem excited at the prospect of legendary catcher Yadier Molina returning to the team as a coach. And while that will be great, other changes must be made to avoid the pitfalls of 2023. If the Cardinals decide to keep Dusty Blake as their pitching coach for analytics reasons, they must add a coach to help with the mental aspect of pitching.
Having a manager with passive-aggressive tendencies combined with a pitching coach who goes strictly by analytics isn't the best of combinations, so getting some help there would be tremendous. This would be another area where adding Molina would help this club.
As things stand now, some players will be doomed before the season begins in 2024. Let's discuss those players.
Tyler O'Neill is doomed with Marmol returning as manager
And that would be why he is viewed as one of the leading trade pieces the Cardinals have available.
The 2023 season started rough as Marmol publicly criticized O'Neill for a perceived lack of hustle. Even after O'Neill spent time in the offseason re-working his routine to add speed and implement strategies to help him stay healthy and on the field, Marmol took the time to criticize O'Neill to the media. It was a shocking move for Marmol. O'Neill is the kind of guy who puts his head down and gets to work for the team's betterment. He did not take the public criticism well, telling the media he preferred that conversation stay between the two men.
O'Neill had many injuries that derailed his season plans to play more. But after the public spat, it became apparent Marmol wanted to use anyone else to play left field, including Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson, Jordan Walker, and Brendan Donovan.
The hope is for O'Neill to be moved this offseason. If not, O'Neill may be the bearer of more gruff from Marmol and would have to ride things out until the trade deadline or offseason when he does become a free agent. Either way, this offseason is essential for O'Neill to get his career back on track.