Oct. 18: The Nats have formally announced Coles as their new hitting coach.
“We are very excited to add Darnell Coles as our hitting coach,” manager Dave Martinez said in a statement within today’s press release. “We align on hitting philosophy, process and focusing on the here and now. He’s not only an outstanding hitting coach, but a great baseball man. Darnell has a great rapport with both veterans and young players and brings a thorough understanding of the analytics that we would like to incorporate.”
Oct. 15: The Nationals are planning to hire Darnell Coles to be their next hitting coach, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). Should the two sides eventually finalize a contract, Coles would replace Kevin Long, who departed to become the Phillies’ hitting coach earlier this week.
Coles played in the big leagues from 1983-97 before moving into coaching. He spent some time in the Washington organization early in his coaching career, working as a roving hitting instructor and minor league coach for a few seasons in the late 2000’s. Coles made it to a big league coaching staff by 2014 and was hired by the Brewers as hitting coach entering the 2015 campaign.
After four years in Milwaukee, Coles stepped down to take on the same role in Arizona. He spent the next three-plus seasons with the D-Backs before being let go in early June amidst Arizona’s nightmarish season. It seems he’s now on track for an eighth consecutive season coaching hitters at the big league level, assuming talks with Washington get across the finish line.
The Nationals slumped to a last-place finish in the NL East after orchestrating a midseason sell-off. That wasn’t really the fault of the offense, though. Washington’s .266/.346/.433 team slash line (excluding pitchers) checked in seventh league-wide by measure of wRC+, the second-highest mark among non-playoff teams.