The Washington Nationals have named Jim Hickey their next pitching coach, the club announced. Hickey, 59, spent the past two seasons as a special assistant for player development for the Dodgers.
The move does not come as a surprise, as manager Davey Martinez had been expected to bring in people from his past to join the coaching staff. Martinez, having recently been extended, has been granted the opportunity to hand-pick his coaching staff for the first time since taking over as Washington’s manager. He will also be selecting a new bench coach at some point this offseason.
Hickey and Martinez go all the way back to their days together on Joe Maddon’s staff in Tampa Bay. The pair worked together in Tampa for seven seasons from 2008 to 2014. Hickey, of course, comes with his own set of qualifications, having spent 15 years as a pitching coach – most recently with the Cubs in 2018.
Paul Menhart had been the Nationals pitching coach for the last year and a half, taking over midway through 2019. His ascension to the bench coincided with the Nats’ turnaround, and Menhart was credited with helping Stephen Strasburg make key adjustments during their World Series victory over the Astros. A long-time organizational coach, Menhart was informed recently that he would not be brought back.
Hickey has plenty of material to work with in Washington, who boast a three-headed monster at the top of their rotation in Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin. The back half of the rotation tells a different tale, however, as Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, and Austin Voth have been unable to fully claim rotation spots. Along with a bullpen that’s perpetually in question, Hickey will be tasked with steering their pitching corps back in the direction of the foundational unit it’s been for the franchise prior to 2020.