HOUSTON — With three of the top positions on Oliver Marmol's coaching staff to fill, the Cardinals kept it in the family, complete with one long-awaited reunion.
Matt Holliday, the Cardinals' Hall of Famer who has been approached by the team several times before about a role, is joining as bench coach. He replaces his good friend Skip Schumaker, who left to become Miami's manager, and he'll work alongside one of his closest friends in baseball, Marmol.
"The fit is as good as it’s ever going to get for me and my family," Holliday told the Post-Dispatch on Sunday morning. "It's always been family for my family. Obviously the love and the passion I have for the organization was ultimately a big part of this."
The Cardinals also promoted Dusty Blake, as expected, to pitching coach, and they turned to assistant hitting coach Turner Ward to take over as hitting coach.
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The promotions reward two members of Marmol's staff who players lauded and complimented for their roles in helping the Cardinals win the National League Central this past season. Blake has brought an analytical edge to the Cardinals approach with pitching, pitch use, and pitching strategy. Ward was hired a year ago to add the voice of a former player and longtime hitting coach to the staff. He was Paul Goldschmidt's manager in the minors, and Goldschmidt has often talked about how their relationship helped shape and launch his career.
The Cardinals made their coaching staff announcements Sunday morning after the completion of the World Series.
Brandon Allen, a member of the Cardinals' minor-league coaching staff, will move to the majors as Ward's assistant hitting coach, offering the team a continuum of the approach used throughout the organization. Julio Rangel, a coach with Boston, joins as assistant pitching coach/bullpen, a new title that replaces the bullpen coach on previous staffs.
The Cardinals had previously confirmed that Stubby Clapp (first base), Ron "Pop" Warner (third base), Willie McGee (assistant coach), Jamie Pogue (bullpen catcher), Packy Elkins (run production), and Kleininger Teran (bullpen catcher) would return to the coaching staff. They will remain in the same roles.
Like Schumaker, Holliday will go year to year on his contract, though the structure of the offer from the Cardinals is three years with two option seasons after 2023.
Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct the full name of Turner Ward.