Why the St. Louis Cardinals hiring Matt Holliday as bench coach will pay huge dividends

The St. Louis Cardinals have announced Matt Holliday will join the team as the bench coach in 2023. Here’s why the hire was a smart move.

One day after the completion of the 2022 World Series, it’s clear that the St. Louis Cardinals already have their eye on 2023. Among the St. Louis coaching hires for the upcoming season that were announced on Sunday was the return of Matt Holliday to the franchise as the bench coach.

Holliday is a Cardinals Hall of Famer, playing eight seasons in St. Louis from 2009-2016, including as a key part of the 2011 World Series-winning team. But Holliday not only has a connection to Cardinals glory of the past, but also some relationships in the present that St. Louis hopes will help erase the recent string of October disappointments, including this year’s Wild Card loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The hire of Holliday will likely be a big impact on Nolan Arenado, who will reportedly not opt out of his current contract and keep things status quo in his relationship with the Cardinals. Arenado and Holliday were teammates in Colorado when Holliday made his last MLB appearance during the 2018 season, helping Colorado reach the NLDS. Even before that, Arenado reached out to Holliday for tips on his swing and hitting.

“We sent each other swings,” Arenado said in this article. “I send him swings of me and asked him what he thinks and he sent me some of his. We talk all the time. I consider him a pretty darn good friend. I really appreciate watching his swings and talking about the game.”

Arenado also traveled to Stillwater, Okla., where Holliday was serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, before and after the trade sending him from Colorado to St. Louis went down. It was not only a time of working out and prepping for the next season, but also for Arenado to ask Holliday more about what it was like to play for the Cardinals.

Aside from Arenado, don’t overlook the relationship between manager Oli Marmol and Holliday, with Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calling Marmol “one of his closest friends in baseball.”

Holliday has been back in St. Louis several times as part of the Cardinals Hall of Fame ceremonies, and is well respected in the city and within the franchise. Combine that respect with his relationships with a cornerstone Cardinals player and a young manager looking to erase an early exit from the postseason and it’s easy to see why Holliday joining the staff could eventually be one of the best moves of the offseason for St. Louis.

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