Cardinals manager Oli Marmol quickly said at the end of 2023 that the 2024 season must be different. He added that significant changes would have to be made, including "weeding out" players who did not have a team-first mentality.
Marmol was critical of players last season and named names. But he didn't pinpoint who needed to go in his end-of-season statements. After watching Marmol's actions, seeing him seemingly get reined in on the public criticism was a bit surprising. Then again, he couldn't help himself to be a little critical.
With rumors circulating that Yadier Molina could return to the Cardinals as a coach next season, Marmol's passive-aggressive approach with certain players may be under the microscope more. Molina was never publicly critical of his teammates. He would often talk with his pitchers and teammates one-on-one. He was never critical of his teammates to the media, noting the good things done and the promise that work would be done to improve. Fans knew when Molina said work would be done to improve, it would happen. Honestly, that's the kind of talk you want from a leader. Who wants to be publicly criticized?
Some trades will likely be made this offseason to go along with the expected free-agent signings. The players who caught Marmol's ire could be at the top of the to-be-traded list.
Let's discuss who may be on list of possible trade candidates.
Dylan Carlson will most likely be traded this offseason
Carlson has had since the 2020 season to show the Cardinals what kind of player he can be. But every season, he gets injured or falls into a significant slump.
When healthy, he is a tremendous outfielder but does have issues with consistency at the plate. It would be great to see Carlson put it together with his health and bat. He could be a massive talent for the team. Carlson has yet to find that rhythm while with the Cardinals, and it would be curious to see if a change in scenery would help the once-highly-regarded talent.
For his career with the Cardinals, the 25-year-old has hit .243/.322/.394 with an OPS of .717. He has a career 5.6 WAR. He's knocked 34 home runs, 173 runs, and 150 RBIs for four seasons and 388 games. Imagine a healthy and consistent Carlson over that time.
Social media is filled with fans concerned Carlson would be much like Adolis Garcia or Randy Arozarena, meaning the Cardinals give up on him too soon, and he has a breakout postseason. To counter that thought, though, Carlson has had four seasons to prove himself. It would be worth the risk if he could be swapped for starting pitching or even a veteran outfielder with a bat.