1. Oli Marmol does not deserve to be fired
I'm not going to try and argue that Oli Marmol is one of the best managers in baseball or something like that. But I also think it's equally silly to act like he is one of the worst in baseball either.
In 2022, Marmol was promoted to the club's manager after the surprise dismissal of Mike Shildt. In his first year as manager, Marmol guided the Cardinals to a 93-win season and the NL Central Division title before being bounced by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card Series. While the playoff exit was frustrating, Marmol had a good first year at the helm for St. Louis.
Some will blame Marmol for his bullpen usage in Game 1 of the series for the Cardinals' downfall, but let's be honest, the offense just did not show up in that series. The Cardinals scored just 3 runs in those two games, and their stars, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado combined to go 1-15 with 1 run scored and 0 RBI in the series.
Coming into 2023, expectations remained high for this Cardinals club, but the concerns that many had about the pitching staff became even worse than anyone could have expected. The Cardinals' defense also regressed in a major way, but a lot of that has to do with losing guys like Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina, prolonged injuries for Tyler O'Neill and Lars Nootbaar, a weirdly bad defensive first half from Nolan Arenado, and one of the league's worst defenders for much of the season in Jordan Walker. Sure, coaching could maybe help the pitching staff and defense be better, but the regression has far more to do with personnel than it does the coaching.
I've seen many just point to the Cardinals record as proof that Marmol is a terrible manager. Is Terry Francona now a bad manager for having his Guardians team under .500 this year? Is Bob Melvin, who was regarded as one of the best managers in baseball going into the year, seen as an awful manager after how bad the Padres' season has gone? Early in his career, Tony La Russa had multiple terrible seasons with the White Sox before being fired. I'm not saying Marmol is one of the best managers in baseball, but managers often get too much credit for team success and too much blame for team failure.
With how bad this season has gone, it would be really easy for a number of players in the Cardinals' dugout to throw Marmol under the bus, but they continue to come to the defense of their manager time and time again. Marmol hasn't been impressive this year, but his success in 2022 earns him another chance in 2024 in my book. I doubt the Cardinals consider moving on from him, but if they do, I understand why, because perhaps a change in leadership just has to happen for the sake of some change. But I don't think it would be a reflection on who Marmol is as a manager and more about the mess the club has found itself in.