The Nationals announced yesterday that they’ve hired recently departed Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux to fill the same role in their organization under new manager Dusty Baker. (MLB.com’s Bill Ladson first tweeted that the hire was likely.) In luring Maddux to D.C., the Nationals landed one of the game’s more respected coaches of any discipline, and they paid accordingly. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Maddux will become the highest-paid pitching coach in baseball with the Nationals, adding that the team’s pursuit of Maddux began as soon as the Rangers provided him the opportunity to listen to offers from other teams. Washington’s pursuit lasted more than two weeks, and Nightengale hears that the Nationals’ plan was to hire Maddux as pitching coach regardless of who was eventually named manager.
A few more coaching notes from around the league…
- The Yankees announced this week that 2015 assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell has been promoted to hitting coach. Cockrell has previously served as Mariners’ hitting coach and was also the Rockies’ hitting coach during their 2007 World Series run. Meanwhile, recently retired Marcus Thames, who had a productive 2010 season as a part-time outfielder for the Yankees, has been named assistant hitting coach. Thames, still just 38, has spent the past three seasons as a hitting coach with three different Yankees’ minor league affiliates (Tampa, Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre).
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have offered the bench coach position to former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who finished runner up to Andy Green in the team’s managerial search. Multiple sources told Lin of the offer, he notes, while another source said the Padres also offered the position to Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach. All of this seems to indicate that current bench coach Dave Roberts could indeed depart in 2016, though Lin hears that the organization isn’t shutting the door on keeping Roberts. Rather, they’d assign him a new coaching position if he were to return. Roberts has been interviewing for managerial gigs and is believed to be the favorite to land the Dodgers’ managerial position at this time. Gardenhire, for his part, was diplomatic and wouldn’t confirm the offer in a recent MLB Network Radio appearance, but he spoke highly of GM A.J. Preller (links to Twitter). “A.J. is a brilliant young man,” said Gardenhire. “He’s pretty cool, a baseball junkie, loves to go out and scout. I like those things.” Gardenhire called the San Diego group as a whole “unbelievable.”
- The Rangers will hire the Astros‘ Doug Brocail as their new pitching coach, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Brocail, a former big league right-hander, has served as Houston’s pitching coach previously and more recently been working in the team’s front office. As Grant notes, he’ll bring an analytic point of view to Texas, which will mesh with second-year manager Jeff Banister’s philosophies. Grant also reports that Triple-A pitching coach Brad Holman will be the Rangers’ bullpen coach in 2016.
- The Angels announced this week that former D-Backs pitching coach Charles Nagy has been hired as the club’s new pitching coach. The 48-year-old Nagy enjoyed a 14-year Major League career spent almost entirely in Cleveland, and he served as a special assistant in the Cleveland front office this past season. He was Arizona’s pitching coach from 2011-13.
- Additionally, the Angels announced that they’ve promoted Dave Hansen from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach and named Paul Sorrento assistant hitting coach. Each hitting instructor spent more than 10 years in the Majors. Hansen has previously been hitting coach for the Mariners and Dodgers, and he’s held his assistant role in Anaheim since 2014. Sorrento has been working in the Angels’ minor league system.
- The Brewers this week formally announced the previously reported hires of Derek Johnson as pitching coach and Pat Murphy as bench coach. Murphy, of course, was the Padres’ interim manager from June through season’s end and has a close relationship with Milwaukee skipper Craig Counsell, whom he coached in college.