If Oli Marmol is fired, the Cardinals have a chance to correct a major mistake

Back in 2011, Tony La Russa walked away after guiding the Cardinals to a World Series title. Before they replaced him with Mike Matheny, Terry Francona was an option and could be again if Oli Marmol is let go.
Terry Francona Press Conference
Terry Francona Press Conference / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Since the departure of Tony La Russa, the Cardinals have burned through two managers. Mike Matheny was hired to replace him in 2012 but was fired in 2018. Mike Shildt took over when Matheny was let go but suffered the same fate in 2021.

The Cardinals are now on their third manager since La Russa departed and based on John Mozeliak's comments on KMOX with Tom Ackerman, Oli Marmol might be on the hot seat.

Mozeliak too, may find his seat getting warmer. If Marmol is fired this year, then the Cardinals likely will replace him with an internal candidate in an interim capacity. But in the offseason, they'll have a chance to correct one of their greatest mistakes in recent memory.

Cardinals could correct major mistake if Marmol is fired

Just after winning the 2011 World Series and watching La Russa walk away, the Cardinals had several options to choose from. Two-time World Series champion Terry Francona had thrown his hat in the ring after being let go by the Red Sox.

Francona would have been the perfect guy to carry on the Cardinal way and pick up where La Russa left off. The Cardinals would have had an experienced manager and a proven winner, but they chose Matheny instead.

The immediate effects were minimal, as with holdovers from the La Russa era, they reached the postseason four more times and even advanced to the World Series in 2013. But in 2018, the cracks began to show. Matheny had lost the clubhouse and ultimately was fired for it.

Shildt was a good replacement, and while he wasn't perfect, the team was successful under his watch, reaching the postseason three years in a row and going to the NLCS in 2019. After 2021 came one of the more recent blunders from the front office, firing Shildt.

But back to Francona. He should have been the clear frontrunner for the job. He was more than qualified for it and still is. Had "Tito" as he's affectionately known, been hired, the Cardinals would have likely avoided the mess that came to light when Matheny lost the clubhouse, as well as the mess they're in now with Marmol.

Now, you could argue that Francona may have met the same fate as Shildt when the front office decided to be more analytical. It's always possible, especially given Mozeliak's track record. But the Cardinals would have never needed to change managers if Francona was hired. And firing Francona would have made for even worse optics for Mozeliak.

The Cardinals would have had the best possible manager in tow. A lot of this mess could have been avoided. But there's still a chance to make things right. Obviously, Francona is sitting this year out, but he might be ready to go again by 2025. When the opportunity arises, the Cardinals could potentially end all of the shenanigans and hire the best man for the job.