If the Cardinals keep struggling, how much longer will Oli Marmol last?

The Cardinals are six games below .500. If the struggles continue, could Oli Marmol be shown the door?
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

After a 71-91 finish in 2023, things aren't that much better for the Cardinals in 2024. Heading into their series against the Brewers, they sat six games below the .500 mark and in last place in the NL Central, and now they are getting stomped by their division rival.

A four-game skid has put them in this precarious position. Two of those losses came against the White Sox, which at this point is an utter embarrassment. To make matters worse, Willson Contreras is out for 6-8 weeks after fracturing his left arm.

So, once again, the sky is falling for the Cardinals. And while one person can't be held solely responsible for their struggles, there is one man who might be on the chopping block if things continue to go south.

Manager Oli Marmol may have been dealt a bad hand, but it's clear that the Cardinals aren't getting anywhere under his leadership. It's fair to question how much longer he'll last as the manager if the season continues to go south.

How long will Oli Marmol last if the Cardinals keep struggling?

The Cardinals got off to a 10-24 start last year and never recovered, even after a brief hot stretch in May. This ultimately led to the Cardinals finishing in last place in the NL Central in Marmol's second full season as the club's manager.

So far, year three isn't off to a great start, and it's looking like the Cardinals made a major mistake when they hired him to replace Mike Shildt. Not only that, but the decision to give him a contract extension before the season started, especially after last year's debacle appears to be a mistake as well.

The extension showed that the Cardinals fully back Marmol and would suggest that he's not getting fired anytime soon. But if the struggles continue, it's fair to wonder if they'll make a change at a certain point.

Marmol clearly isn't the right man for the job, and while the players may back him, it's hard to see why the front office and ownership back him, especially given his track record. But if he is fired, when will that come?

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If by the All-Star Break, the Cardinals are still under .500, then it's possible he could be let go then. However, there aren't a lot of in-season replacements available at the moment. If the Cardinals want to hire the right manager for the future, they need somebody from outside the organization, preferably with no Cardinals ties. This would eliminate Skip Schumaker and Jon Jay from consideration.

Other internal options include Triple-A manager Ben Johnson, Yadier Molina, Daniel Descalso, and Stubby Clapp. The Cardinals could use one of these options as an interim replacement if Marmol is let go and then go after somebody like Terry Francona or Alex Cora in the offseason.

However, I think the most likely time Marmol gets fired, if that is the route they choose to take would be after the season if they miss the playoffs or finish under .500 again. Better options will be available then.

So, regardless of how things go, I do believe Marmol will at least make it through the regular season. The extension may have been signed just to take some pressure off of him. But he'll likely be given at least one more chance to turn things around.

Keep in mind that Mike Matheny had two full years left on his contract when he was fired, so the extension doesn't prevent a firing from taking place.