So who is at fault for the Cardinals' terrible start?
Like most things in life, the Cardinals' start to their season isn't black and white in terms of who is at fault. But let me name some of the culprits who have at least played a role in this situation.
Yes, at the end of the day, the Dewitts cut the checks. And many would argue it is ridiculous that the Cardinals' budget isn't significantly higher than it is today. Yes, Mozeliak still has some money he can spend on this current team, but I doubt it is north of $200 million. Right now, the Cardinals rank 16th in payroll at $159 million this year. Concerns with their bullpen and rotation would have surely been addressed this offseason if Mozeliak had more money to spend.
I am one of the people who said I liked the Cardinals' strategy of letting the position players compete for roles this season. I still stand by that. Imagine if the Cardinals had dealt Nolan Gorman or Lars Nootbaar this offseason. Instead, they stuck with their guys and saw what they had once they couldn't swing a trade, and I respect that.
But it hasn't worked, and when things don't work, there does need to be changes. I'm glad they are now allowing Jordan Walker to play every day down in Memphis, but their overall management of the outfield so far has just been puzzling at best. Yes, Marmol has a role to play in that (more on that in a second), but it's clear the allocation of assets just has not been wise this season.
Oli Marmol and his staff
Marmol and his staff need to take blame as well. In-game decisions, the handling of lineups and playing time, publicly calling out players, and just an overall mess on the field right now are at least some reflection of the leadership in the clubhouse. It doesn't mean they are bad leaders or need to be fired, but there is accountability that they need to continue to own, and they need to find a way to get this turned around.
Outside of ownership, front office, and the coaching staff, the players need to own a lot of this as well.