Cardinals hire ex-slugger Matt Holliday as new bench coach

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The St. Louis Cardinals hired ex-slugger Matt Holliday, who helped the organization win the World Series in 2011, as manager Oliver Marmol‘s bench coach.

Holliday replaces Skip Schumaker, who was hired last month as the manager of the Miami Marlins.

The Cardinals also announced Dusty Blake, who had been a pitching strategist, was promoted to pitching coach and Turner Ward, who had been an assistant hitting coach, was promoted to hitting coach. Blake replaces Mike Maddux and Ward takes over for Jeff Albert. Both stepped away after long tenures with the Cardinals.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak acknowledged the club would have a lot of openings to fill late last month, saying he wasn’t opposed to hiring someone from outside the organization.

“We want to make sure we’re addressing all our needs,” Mozeliak said.

He got the best of both of both worlds in Holliday. The 42-year-old slugger, a seven-time All-Star during his 15-year big league career, had been coaching at Oklahoma State in his hometown of Stillwater.

He began his career with the Rockies before spending eight years in St. Louis, where he became a fan favorite. Holliday retired in 2018 after a year with the Yankees and a final year in Colorado.

The Cardinals filled out their coaching staff by choosing Brand Allen, a member of their minor league staff, to replace Ward as their assistant hitting coach. Julio Rangle, who had been with the Red Sox, will be the new assistant pitching coach.

Patrick Elkins will return for another season as the club’s run-production specialist. Stubby Clapp will be back as first base coach, Pop Warner as third base coach, Willie McGee as a coach and Jamie Pogue and Kleininger Teran as bullpen catchers.

The Cardinals went 93-69 and won their second NL Central title in the past four years this season. They were swept by the eventual National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in their two-game, wild-card series.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.