After the Washington Nationals coaching staff’s contracts were set to expire at the end of the month, it was assumed that all coaches on Dave Martinez‘s staff would be retained after Martinez’s contract was extended. But those assumptions were false. We knew the whispers about the disappointment with pitching coach, Paul Menhart, whose starters set an ominous team record with a 5.38 ERA in 2020. Those whispers turned out to be real as Menhart’s contract was not extended, and he will be replaced. But the changes did not stop with Menhart. Third base coach, and former Nats bench coach, Chip Hale, also won’t return. Reports are that popular hitting coach Kevin Long is also moving on, but we also have heard that those rumors are not necessarily accurate. More to follow on that.
We were told by a source that the only decision on Martinez’s staff as to a coach who will definitely be retained is bench coach Tim Bogar. Of course if Bogar is offered a head coaching spot elsewhere, then he will move on. Last year he was a runner-up for the Mets managerial opening. What is interesting is all of the quotes that kind of foreshadowed that changes were imminent.
“Obviously you guys know that I strongly believe in pitching and defense,” Martinez said last weekend. “But without starting pitching, it’s hard to win championships. We proved that in 2019, so Rizzo and I are going to have conversations.”
With Bogar returning, he was also mentioned by Martinez in a quote and by name in his plans for the 2021 season.
“Going into spring training, Bogar and I will do a lot of talking this winter. We’re gonna devise a program individually for each player, really hone in on what they need to do to get better & get them ready for 2021.”
So, what does that mean for the other coaches? There is Bob Henley who was the first base coach in 2020 and bullpen coach Henry Blanco. Both are holdovers from previous staffs and Davey knew Blanco from the Cubs organization. Then you have Pat Roessler as the only coach remaining who Martinez handpicked. Roesller had been the assistant hitting coach under Long.
This will certainly be a wait and see and players found out much like the rest of us that changes were being made on the coaching staff. Multiple sources told us that players had been in contact with the team in support of hitting coach Kevin Long who was credited with the success of players going back to Daniel Murphy when he was with the Mets. Long helped to get Anthony Rendon to the next level and his constant work with Juan Soto and Trea Turner. If there was any criticism of Long, it was that he struggled with fringe players as to improving them.
While we knew the whispers that Paul Menahrt would not return, we were told the Nats were mostly happy with Kevin Long’s offense. https://t.co/qAHP1dJZx3
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) October 10, 2020
This will be an ongoing discussion in the offseason to not only who exits, but then who the team adds to the coaching staff.