After donning the tools of ignorance for the St. Louis Cardinals for 19 years, Yadier Molina could return to the organization in some capacity soon, according to a FOX 2 article by Martin Kilcoyne and Dave Jobe. The article said that Molina and the Cardinals have discussed a return, but the seriousness of the talks is uncertain.
If Molina were to join the Cardinals' staff, it would show that the Cardinals are shooting for the moon in 2024. Molina's potential presence as a coach would indirectly put pressure on Oli Marmol. Marmol was already lambasted for his managerial decisions as the team struggled to its worst record since 1990, and if Molina is hired, fans will expect him to replace Marmol at some point.
Molina is revered among Cardinals fans and whispers for him as a potential manager have been around since before his career ended. Molina has expressed a desire to manage and gained experience with the job after managing the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. Marmol would be under even more of a microscope than he was last year if he were to give Molina a position on the staff.
A logical position for Molina on the team to start out would be as a pitching coach. The Cardinals had monumental success with their pitchers under the tutelage of Dave Duncan from 1996 to 2011. Duncan was unique among pitching coaches because he was a catcher in his playing days, not a pitcher like most coaches.
Molina was widely lauded throughout his career for his intangibles in working with pitchers, and it doesn't seem to be a stretch that he could find success as a pitching coach. The Cardinals' current coach, Dusty Blake, was the subject of some criticism throughout the season because of the Cardinals' sharp downturn in pitching effectiveness.
If Molina wants to take on some duties instead of or beyond the pitching coach role, he could be an invaluable resource for Willson Contreras. Contreras' first season with the Cardinals was full of drama as the Cardinals removed him from behind the plate early in the year, only to place him back in the role shortly after. There were also rumblings of the team putting Contreras in the outfield. Later in the season, New York Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay reported that Contreras was calling pitches that his pitchers did not have in their arsenals.
Molina's hiring would be a bold choice for Marmol given that Molina would be a logical candidate to replace him if anything goes awry. Adding Molina and his wealth of baseball knowledge would be a sign that Marmol's top priority for the Cardinals in 2024 is to win. It would be a courageous hire, and regardless of Molina's official position on the staff, there is no doubt that he would elevate the team to a new level.