1. St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals manager Oli Marmol will enter the 2024 season with a hot seat. The 2023 Cardinals finished with 91 losses, their most in over thirty years. St. Louis has been baseball's epitome of consistent success (since 2000, they've made 17 playoff appearances), and anything less than a playoff appearance in 2024 could be cause for Marmol's firing.
Marmol's tenure as Cardinals manager got off to a contentious start, as St. Louis surprisingly parted ways with Mike Schildt, who had led the team to playoff appearances in all three of his full seasons in charge, in favor of Marmol.
Marmol also seemingly publicly butchered the handling of dysfunction with two key players during last season, including now Red Sox outfielder Tyler O'Neill and Willson Contreras. Aside from the team's poor performance on the field, these clubhouse mistakes fueled the perception that Marmol was in over his head.
If Cora were to join the Cardinals, it could open the door for an interesting partnership between him and fellow Puerto Rican Yadier Molina. Molina was behind the dish for 19 seasons in St. Louis, and left his playing days as a revered member of Cardinals baseball lore and an almost unanimously respected player in the game. The two are connected through Puerto Rican baseball, and Molina gained his first major managerial experience when he managed the Puerto Rico national team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Cora could take the manager title and enjoy an increased front office role while molding Molina for the managerial spot as bench coach.
St. Louis' status as one of the league's premier franchises should make it a desirable landing spot for Cora, and if the Marmol experiment has failed, the Cardinals aren't going to want to risk their chances with another first-time manager. They would prefer the known commodity in Cora.
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