On "Everything You Think Is Wrong Day", Oli Marmol's contract got extended

Maybe this is more about taking pressure off the front office than Oli Marmol
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

March 15th we recognize Everything You Think Is Wrong Day, a day where decision-making should be avoided, as your thoughts are (according to the founder of this holiday) wrong. It is also a day created for some people to realize that they are not always right.

At the beginning of the day, most people thought the manager of the Cardinals, Oliver Marmol, was on the hot seat. At the end of last season, BetMissouri.com even had him at the top of the list of managers to be fired in 2024. On Everything You Think Is Wrong Day, however, that was upside-down thinking, and he got an extension instead. Maybe if the Cardinals had looked at the calendar, this would have never happened. 

Shortly after noon on March 15th, the internet exploded. There’s already been a lot of discussion about this being a good or bad move. I wanted to look at a few statements that should have gotten everyone’s attention. 

“To go into the season with a … lame-duck manager just seemed to be the wrong strategy…”

It worked just fine with Tony LaRussa, who was on the last year of his contract a few times. He was on a one-year contract when he won the World Series. To single out the manager, being a lame duck seems odd when the entire team is a lame duck. Sonny Gray, Willson Contreras, and Nolan Arenado are the only players with guaranteed money on the books for next year. The rest of the team is eligible or can/will be a free agent next year. If you are worried about the manager being in the last year of a contract, then you should probably be concerned about how the players feel knowing they aren’t guaranteed a contract for next year, either.  If sometimes players perform better in their walk year looking for that big contract, shouldn't that apply to managers, too?

“…go into the year with this being a distraction for Oli, for the staff or the players …”

Last year was a season of distractions, most of them created by Marmol. I think a team dealing with Tyler O’Neill being called out publicly, benching Willson Contreras, the only star free agent you signed, and then giving Walker the job in right field only to send him back down, not because of his defense but because of launch angle. This after he tied the record for the longest hitting streak at the start of a career by a player 20 or younger that was set in 1912. Those kinds of distractions probably affect the team more than the manager’s contract. 

“…we believe we’re going to be competitive…”

This is something Cardinal fans have heard for several years now. This is a very unenthusiastic statement to make about your team. Most teams during spring training are feeling their best about their team. We have had a great off-season. We have a team that can make it to the World Series, and this is going to be an exciting team to watch is what other front offices are saying right now. The Cardinals say we believe, might be, could be, if things go just right, be competitive. Not a winning team, but competitive. If you want your manager to succeed, then go out and get the best players available.

“We’re very positive on Oli as our manager,” chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. said in January. “We’ll see how this year goes, but I have full expectation that after this year, he’ll continue as our manager.”

Something changed in just a few months. Instead of “seeing how this year goes,” the Cardinals felt the need to make this change now. Could it be that instead of taking the pressure off of the manager, it was more about taking the pressure off the front office? If things go dreadfully wrong, “When are you going to fire the manager?” just became one less question they will have to respond to.