Marmol Changes Careers
Former outfielder now coaching
ST. LOUIS—When he was pulled into the office for the inevitable release, Oliver Marmol wasn't surprised. He also wasn't finished with the Cardinals.
Four days after being dismissed as a player, Marmol got a call from the organization offering him a job as a coach, two levels down from where he had just been playing. Within two weeks, Marmol went from an outfielder hitting .221/.336/.365 to a 24-year-old manning the first-base coach's box.
"It happened quickly," Marmol said. "It was like I expected it (to be released). It was just a matter of what day it was. I wasn't putting up the numbers I needed to. When the offer came, you get to a point where you have to step back and be honest with yourself."
Marmol closed the year as a coach with short-season Batavia, and in January he was rehired as a coach for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team. Marmol will serve as hitting coach, and will be a young, bilingual coach who can help the new players acclimate to pro baseball and, in some cases, the United States. In less than six months, Marmol has unexpectedly gone from player to prospect coach.
John Vuch, in his first year as farm director, said one thing he'd like to do is invite worthy former players to move into coaching roles because "they've already had years of instruction in how we do things on the minor league level." Marmol is the first to graduate into this role, at least in part because he was upfront about his interest.
The 5-foot-10 outfielder came to the Cardinals out of the College of Charleston in 2007 as a sixth-round selection. He started his pro career in the infield, buoyed by a reputation for getting on base and then stealing one. Marmol never had a season average better than the .221 on the day he was released, and he had a career-high of 276 at-bats in 2008.
• The Cardinals hired former Braves minor league manager Phillip Wellman as Double-A Springfield's hitting coach. Wellman is well known for his explosive rant in 2007 that featured him walking off with two bases.
• Among the Cardinals non-roster invites to major league spring training will be Adam Ottavino and Nick Stavinoha, two players removed from the 40-man roster this offseason, as well as flamethrower Joe Kelly, Cuban import Amaury Cazana, and top prospect Shelby Miller.