The St. Louis Cardinals were one of Major League Baseball's most disappointing teams this season. Despite harboring playoff aspirations in the spring, they finished last in the National League Central with a 71-91 mark. This was the first time in 33 years, or since the 1990 campaign, that the Cardinals recorded a last-place finish or a 90-loss season.
The Cardinals have already declared that manager Oli Marmol will return for the 2024 season. Marmol's coaching staff might include a new member, albeit one that offers a familiar face to the Cardinals franchise. Longtime backstop Yadier Molina, who retired after the 2022 season, is reportedly open to joining the Cardinals in some capacity, either in management or as a coach.
"I had the opportunity, when I went a few weeks ago to Adam Wainwright's (the farewell for his retirement), to sit with (the management) and several points were discussed," Molina told Gabriel Quiles of Puerto Rico's El Vocero in Spanish, according to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat.
"We hope that if something happens, it will happen soon and if not, I would still be willing to continue helping them when they need me while I am here in Puerto Rico. They have the knowledge of my willingness (to assume a position in the management or coaching staff)."
As Jones reports, Molina would prefer to become the Cardinals' bench coach. While that spot is currently filled by Joe McEwing, the Cardinals played coy with Jones, declining to confirm that McEwing remains under contract for the 2024 season (though the team is believed to hold an option on his services).
Molina, 41, spent his entire 19-year big-league career with the Cardinals. He was arguably the most well-regarded defender of his generation, drawing high marks for his staff-handling. At least for a time, he was also responsible for positioning the rest of the Cardinals' defense. Since returning, gained coaching experience by managing Puerto Rico as part of the World Baseball Classic.
If the Cardinals do hire Molina as their bench coach, it will mark the second consecutive winter the franchise has tabbed a former star for that position. Last year, Matt Holliday accepted the job only to resign ahead of spring training.