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Oli Marmol ready to “take our shot at the championship” (and other highlights from his press conference)

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The Cardinals introduced their 51st manager

Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals Set Number: X163331 TK1

In a press conference Monday morning the St. Louis Cardinals confirmed what had been suspected since the dismissal of former manager Mike Shildt: Oliver Marmol will be the next field manager. It is a predictable, yet interesting choice. Marmol has been part of the organization since he was drafted by the team in 2007.

In 2011 he decided to turn his attention to coaching becoming the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He went on the manage the Johnson City Cardinals and then the Palm Beach Cardinals before becoming the first base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Marmol was previously serving as the Cardinals bench coach, much like former manager Mike Shildt before he became manager.

His experience in the organization makes him natural fit for the manager role, especially for a Cardinals organization that seems to put an emphasis on promoting for within. What makes him an interesting choice, though, is his youth. Marmol is easily the youngest manager in the league and is actually the youngest manager to ever be hired, per Jeff Jones of the Belleville News Democrat:

The Cardinals are confident in Marmol and that faith in the up-and-coming coach apparently made the organization more comfortable in parting ways with Shildt. Whatever the differences that arose between Shildt and the Cardinals were, according to President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, sudden and substantial, leading the Cardinals to quickly pivot to Marmol.

In his remarks Marmol spoke highly of his predecessor, who had previously spoke highly of him. Marmol hopes to continue with the improvements to baserunning and defense that began after Shildt took over at the helm. Per Fangraphs, since Shildt’s first full year as manager in 2019 the Cardinals have been the best team defensively per UZR with 76.9, ahead of the second place Oakland Athletics by 19.4. They also lead the league in Defensive Runs Saved during that time with 174. The Cardinals have been the second best baserunning team during that time as well.

Marmol is the first person of color to be the full-time manager of the Cardinals and brings an added benefit of being a native Spanish speaker. Per Zach Silver of MLB.com, Marmol finds this distinction “extremely meaningful”.

There is a lot to like about Oli Marmol. He knows the organization and players, he has the confidence of the front office and ownership, and his youth and background could serve as a shot in the arm to a franchise that has long been thought — sometimes unfairly — to be a little stuck in the past. Perhaps Oliver Marmol is the guy to blend the tradition of the brilliant baseball minds of the past like George Kissell with some fresh ideas the game is begging to see. 2022 should be an interesting year for the Cardinals.