As of July 21st, the Cardinals sit at 44-54 and are in fourth place in a soft National League Central. Baseball Reference gives them a 2.5% chance to make the playoffs, placing them at 23rd overall. The World Series is a virtual impossibility.
Suffice it to say, this season hasn't gone as well as planned. Defensive mishaps, poor pitching, and streaky hitters have been part of the team's demise. There are a lot of people to blame for the team's performance thus far: management didn't target the starting rotation in the offseason, the coaching staff isn't preaching the fundamentals that used to be integral in the organization, and players aren't meeting their expectations. The question remains: is Oliver Marmol responsible enough for what has gone wrong in 2023 to be fired?
Josh Jacobs took a look at this topic back in April. At that point in time, he concluded that Marmol shouldn't be fired. Instead, Jacobs pointed out that situational hitting, management decisions, and bad pitching was mostly to blame for the bad season. Marmol can't fix most of those things.
It is tough to gauge a manager's effect on a baseball team. After all, these are grown men playing a sport that they have loved for years, if not decades at this point. Also, a manager is only one part of the think tank behind a team (owner, management, coaching staff, scouts); it's unfair to put all of the problems on one person. What a manager can do, however, is inspire, focus on fundamentals, place players in the best position to succeed, and make successful substitutions. Let's evaluate past managers for the Cardinals, Marmol's tenure as a manager, and the case for and against his firing.