Former Cardinal Matt Holliday will return to the team he spent eight seasons playing for, signing on as bench coach under manager Oliver Marmol, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team has also promoted Dusty Blake to pitching coach, while Turner Ward will take over as hitting coach.
Holliday, 42, last appeared in the big leagues in 2018, and has been recently coaching at Oklahoma State with his brother. He hit 156 home runs for the Cardinals between 2009-16, going to the All-Star game four times and earning MVP votes in four of his seasons there. Originally drafted by the Rockies in the seventh round of the 1998 draft, Holliday spent six years in Colorado, including a memorable 2007 season. That year he hit .340/.405/.607 with 36 home runs and finished second in NL MVP voting. The Rockies traded him to Oakland in 2009 with Holliday one year away from free agency, but when the Athletics scuffled that year he was traded to the Cardinals at the deadline. He went to free agency that winter, but re-signed with the Cardinals on a seven-year, $120MM deal, continuing what would be a memorable time with the Cardinals which included a championship in 2011.
He’d gone on to have a season with the Yankees, before retiring in 2018 after a short second stint with the Rockies. There had been speculation that the Cardinals would turn to him as their hitting coach, but instead he’ll wind up as bench coach in Marmol’s overhauled staff.
Current assistant hitting coach Turner Ward will instead assume the hitting coach responsibility. He replaces Jeff Albert, who elected not to return for another season in 2023. Ward spent twelve years in the big leagues between 1990-2001, appearing for six teams. He worked with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Reds in various coaching positions, before the Cardinals hired him as their assistant hitting coach a year ago.
Blake, 40, worked as a pitching coach at Duke university, before the Cardinals hired him prior to the 2021 season. He had been working as the team’s pitching strategist, but is promoted to the pitching coach role after Mike Maddux’s departure.