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Oliver Marmol given 2-year contract extension through 2026 by Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Coming off a last-place finish in the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals displayed confidence in manager Oliver Marmol and announced a two-year contract extension through 2026.

“The most important thing for Oli, the coaches or players is to know that we stand behind them,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said Friday. “We believe in that, and to go into the season — what’s the phrase: the lame duck manager? — just seemed to be like the wrong strategy.”

The 37-year-old former Cardinals minor leaguer led the team to an NL Central title in his first season, winning 93 games in 2022 and becoming the youngest manager to reach the playoffs since a 31-year-old Lou Boudreau took Cleveland to the World Series in 1946. St. Louis went 71-91 last year.

“We believe that he’s the right person for this job,” Mozeliak said. “And we’re excited to know who will be here for the for the next few years. So it was important to us to get this done. We’re glad it’s behind us and we look forward to the future.”

Mozeliak and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. first approached Marmol about an extension on Thursday.

“We talked through a couple things and they made it clear that they wanted me to be the one to continue to lead here for the next several years,” Marmol said. “It was great news.”

St. Louis added starters Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson during the offseason along with relievers Kenynan Middleton, Andrew Kittredge and Nick Robertson plus shortstop Brandon Crawford and designated hitter Matt Carpenter.

“Given the fact that the roster we’ve assembled we believe is going to be competitive, has a chance to be exciting, and we just didn’t want something — if we have a stumble or get off to a slow start, all of the sudden, everybody’s looking over their shoulders,” Mozeliak said. “It’s just not fair to everybody. involved. So the timing of this, as we started thinking more and more about it, had to be dealt with now and not something midseason or at the end of the year.”

Marmol joined the Cardinals organization in 2007 as a utilityman and coached in the minors for five seasons before joining the major league coaching staff in 2017. He was fourth in the voting for NL Manager of the Year in 2022, when St. Louis won its first division title since 2019.

“When I’m looking at it, this position, this seat was the best job in all baseball, one of the top jobs in all sports,” Marmol said. “I want to do this well and I want to do it here for a long time.”

A couple dozen Cardinals spilled out of the clubhouse to watch the outdoor news conference.

“They are excited about it,” Marmol said. “I’m excited about it.”

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