Cardinals hire '11 champ Descalso as bench coach

November 20th, 2023

ST. LOUIS -- On the same day the Cardinals reached an agreement with 2011 World Series champion pitcher Lance Lynn to return as a free agent, the club also announced the hiring of another member of that championship squad to serve as bench coach for 2024.

, who became a fan favorite in St. Louis during his time with the Cardinals from 2010-14, was named the team’s new bench coach under manager Oliver Marmol on Monday. Descalso, 37, had a 10-year playing career that also included stops with the Rockies ('15-16), D-backs ('17-18) and Cubs ('19).

Descalso replaces former Cardinals player Joe McEwing as bench coach. McEwing, who was hired in January 2023 after Matt Holliday resigned, will move into a role as a special assistant to John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations.

Mozeliak said recently during the MLB GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., that he anticipated St. Louis' coaching staff growing in 2024. The Cardinals, who continue to negotiate with legendary catcher Yadier Molina for a potential role as an advisor or assistant coach, also hope to grow their analytics/dynamics staff in '24, Mozeliak said. Landing Molina in some role will be a priority later this offseason, Mozeliak said.

“As I’ve said, obviously, there will always be a spot for somebody like Yadi Molina in our organization,” Mozeliak said. “Some of the things that we’re talking through are the type of role and type of expectations. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’m hopeful that he will be a part of our organization.”

Descalso was a third-round Draft pick by the Cardinals in 2007. He had a .970 career fielding percentage during his 10-year MLB career and spent time at third base, shortstop, second base, first base, outfield and pitcher. The versatile defensive ace played a key role in the Cardinals' famed rally in Game 6 of the World Series -- when the team twice battled back while down to its final strike to set up David Freese’s game-winning home run in the 11th inning. Descalso was also a factor in St. Louis' come-from-behind win against the Nats in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series.

Prior to joining the Cards, Descalso served as a special assistant to baseball operations for the NL champion D-backs in 2023.