After spending over a decade coaching in the Chicago White Sox organization, Joe McEwing has found a new home. On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that Matt Holliday had resigned as the team’s bench coach. Holliday held the position for roughly two months before getting cold feet. After getting hired in November, the seven-time All-Star had a change of heart and decided he wanted to spend more time with his family. His replacement will be none other than Joe McEwing.
McEwing had spent the last 16 years in the White Sox organization, 11 of which came on the major league staff. He began his tenure as the Charlotte Knights hitting coach in 2008. In 2012 he took over as the White Sox third base coach, a post he held for four seasons.
McEwing served as the bench coach under former manager Rick Renteria from 2017-2020. He also managed 11 games in Renteria’s absence, going 6-5 during that stretch. After the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, McEwing returned to his job as the White Sox third base coach.
The two-year absence in the hot corner’s coaching box seemed to cause some rust. Super Joe waved around runners at a reckless rate. In 2021 McEwing waved home 18 runners who got nailed at the plate, the fifth most in the MLB. In 2022 the White Sox had 20 base runners gunned down at home plate, which was once again the fifth most in the MLB.
While his final impression with the White Sox was some trigger-happy arm-waving, McEwing left a positive mark on the organization. He was instrumental in Tim Anderson’s development, helping turn him from a raw prospect into an American League All-Star.
McEwing is certainly qualified for the Cardinal’s job. However, it’s easy to see why some Cardinals fans were disappointed in Holiday’s sudden resignation.
Holiday was a 15-year MLB veteran, including eight with the Cardinals. During his time in St. Louis, he was named to four All-Star teams, won his fourth Silver Slugger Award, and a World Series ring. He was set to take over for Skip Schumaker, who left to take the Miami Marlins managerial job.
Both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Katie Woo of The Athletic suggest that Holliday’s sudden change of heart less than two months away from Spring Training came down to a matter of wanting to spend more time with his family. Holliday is a father of four children, with the oldest, Jackson, having just been selected by the Orioles with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft.
However, McEwing has ties to the Cardinals organization as well. He played in the MLB for nine seasons, the first two coming in St. Louis. In 1999 he finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, batting .275 with 28 doubles, nine homers, and 44 RBIs in 152 games with the Red Birds.
The 50-year-old will not join second-year manager Oliver Marmol’s staff. Eddie Rodriguez will replace Joe McEwing as the White Sox third base coach. Rodríguez will lead the infield, with help from fellow staff members Mike Tosar and Charlie Montoyo.
The 63-year-old has spent 40 years as a coach in professional baseball. During that span, he has served two stints with the Royals. During his most recent stint, he served as the minor-league infield coordinator, working with Grifol for the last six seasons.
He was the Royals third base coach from 2011-2013. Rodriguez also served as the Seattle Mariners first base coach, the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals bench coach, a first base and third base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Toronto Blue Jays third base coach.