Contrary to a prior report, the Washington Nationals have agreed to bring back hitting coach Kevin Long on a one-year deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Long’s previous three-year contract just expired, and he had been one of the highest paid hitting coaches in the game, per The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter). The initial split seems to have been merely a failure to reach an agreement on a new deal. Though we don’t know the terms, the two sides have apparently struck a compromise on a one-year pact.
After being extended this past season, manager Dave Martinez was given some hiring power this offseason. He has had the opportunity to build out his coaching staff for the first time since taking over as manager. Thus far, the biggest change has been moving on from Paul Menhart as pitching coach. The longtime organizational pitching coach was replaced by Jim Hickey. Martinez and Hickey were on Joe Maddon’s staff together from 2008 to 2014 with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Martinez and the Nats also moved on from Chip Hale, who spent last season as the third base coach. Hale was hired as the bench coach, meant to help Martinez along as he got his feet wet in his first managerial position. He served in that role when the Nats won the World Series in 2019. In 2020, however, Martinez rotated some of his staff, moving Hale to third base, Bob Henley from third to first, and Tim Bogar from first base coach to the bench.
With Long re-installed as the hitting coach, Martinez needs only to fill Hale’s spot at third base to fill out his 2021 staff. Henry Blanco returns as the bullpen coach, and Pat Roessler will presumably return as the assistant hitting coach.