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.
The Maddux signing deserves its own post. It’s very interesting how the Nats hired a manager who doesn’t “believe in” pitch counts, then hires the best pitching coach in the game to, for lack of a better word, counteract that? Fascinating and encouraging move by the Nats, odds are Maddux is going to be reporting to the front office regarding Dusty’s pitcher abuse record, if it gets too much, Dusty’s gone. Matter of fact, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would think Baker would outlast Maddux at the org.
It may not have been his call but the Rangers were not exactly light on Darvish. A guy they knew had a lot of innings in Japan was near the tops in pitches in 2013 and well on to it again before being injured in 2014. If he sit around and let it happen to Darvish what will be different on the Nationals?
The Nationals had to do something to temper Dusty’s lack of skills in handling a pitching staff so they are paying Maddux more to be the pitching coach than a few managers like Matheny are making. Speaks volumes about how little they actually think of Dusty handling their pitchers.
Your creative writing about the Nationals does get boring. Maddux is an elite pitching coach. Matheny is not an elite manager.
“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.”
cjcronsdisease — Do you not read the articles?
Wonder if Maddux would consider a Manager job at some pointe for the Nats after Baker’s term is up?
so the Nationals low-ball their first choice of manager in Black, and settle for Dusty…. then turn around and give a big fat contract to a new pitching coach instead?
that’s just bizarre….
The Lin article is a bunch of hooey. I often wonder why we cant find any halfway decent sportswriters in San Diego and why the UT continues to publish stuff like this. If the Padres FO staff is smart, why would they totally insult a guy they interviewed for the managers position by offering him a lower position after they hire someone else? That’s total BS. You just don’t do that if you are a successful or even halfway smart business person. Its far more likely that Gardenhire turned down the Padres position because the FO wanted far too much control of day to day decisions and of the coaching staff as a whole. Now they are leaking hooey about offering him a bench coach position. While Balsley agreed in principle to a deal with the Padres, he hasn’t signed a new contract yet.
Maybe they should pull a Marlins and just throw Preller down into the dugout to help manage the team. ( not really because that would be laughable)
If Dave Roberts doesn’t get the LA manager’s gig, he would be certainly be another great addition to the Nats as bench coach.
I know the Nationals had said they were going to hire a manager with experience, but I wonder why they didn’t just offer the managers job to Maddux. He has been coaching long enough to warrant a shot as a manager and as the article points out he is highly respected around the game. Several current managers were pitching coaches at one time and they seem to transition well. Perhaps that is exactly what they plan to do in a couple of years, seeing as how they gave Dusty a pretty short contract and apparently insulted Bud Black with their offer.
It seems they may have TOLD Bud Black that Mike Maddux was going to be the pitching coach and Bud Black might have wanted to pick someone he had better control over for that position. They probably suggested Mike Maddux to Dusty Baker and he didn’t have a problem with it. It’s difficult to be the pitching coach and the manager which is why they wanted a guy like Dusty Baker to be the manager and not have to worry about pitching.