Skip to content

Updated: Nats clean house with coaching staff, hope some return

Oct 5, 2015, 12:19 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

UPDATED: 2:24 p.m.

The Nationals did not only part ways with manager Matt Williams on Monday morning, they let go of their entire coaching staff.

That list includes bench coach Randy Knorr, pitching coach Steve McCatty, hitting coach Rick Schu, first base coach Tony Tarasco, third base coach Bob Henley, defensive coordinator Mark Weidemaier and bullpen coach Matt LeCroy. All had contracts that were not renewed by the team.

That, however, is not to say none of them will return. GM Mike Rizzo announced on Monday that he has offered jobs to several of the assistant coaches to rejoin the team in different capacities.

“It’s very tough to let anybody go that you’re close to and you’ve worked with as much as I have with these people. We have not offered a renewal of a contract for any of our coaching staff. But that’s not to say that some of the coaches will not be back if the new manager decides they are people they would like to have on the staff. It also doesn’t restrict us from hiring them in different capacities in and around our system,” Rizzo said.

Knorr, McCatty, Tarasco and Schu preceded Williams on the Nationals coaching staff. Henley and LeCroy were all part of the organization before Williams arrived in Washington.

Knorr has tied to the franchise dating back to 2001 when he last appeared in the majors with the Montreal Expos. He was a manager in the Nats’ minor league system from 2005 to 2011 and became the bench coach for the big league team in 2012. Knorr interviewed for Nats’ manager position in the fall of 2013 before Williams was hired and was retained after losing out on the job.

McCatty had been with the Nationals for seven seasons. The Nats pitching staff led the majors in ERA (3.03) and starters ERA (3.04) in 2014, but fell way short of expectations in 2015.

Schu joined the Nationals in the middle of the 2013 season as hitting coach after David Eckstein was fired. He spent five total seasons in the organization.

Tarasco was on the Nats’ coaching staff for three seasons. He also spent the previous seven years in player development roles.

Henley and LeCroy were promoted to the big leagues from minor league coaching positions when Williams was hired before the 2014 season. Henley spent 22 years with the franchise and LeCroy lasted seven. Weidemaier joined the organization before the 2014 campaign as a new hire.

“We love all these guys. They’ve been with us for years and years and they’ve done a great job for the organization throughout their time here. We certainly hope that a handful of these guys take us up on the opportunity to work with us in a different capacity,” Rizzo said.

  1. Doc - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Some good coaches in that group.

  2. Another_Sam - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    I’ll miss LeCroy. He was always classy to fans in Viera.

  3. TimDz - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    I’m guessing Knorr finds employment first…seems like a good baseball man…

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    David Eckstein?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      What about him, Mrs B?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:54 PM

        Wasn’t his name Rick?

      • natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:02 PM

        Yes, he was brother of former major league player David.

  5. golfersal - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Very sad to see so many folks leaving.
    Be interesting to see who they get next, not many marquee names out there without jobs and under the age of 70.

    There is one person that nobody has discussed and I hear is on top of the list. His name is Mike Scioscia who has been Angels manager since 2000. Very successful and very well respected, he just had a tough season in which he battled with his GM and the Angels got rid of the GM.
    But what many don’t know is that Sciosica, just like Joe Madden last year has an opt-out in his contract and can leave this minute.
    Very good choice, man with lots of experience who would possibly think of leaving. Only one big problem, $$$$$$$$$$$$
    WIlliams was paid about a half million a year, Scioscia was paid $6 million. Would the Learners be willing to give him a similiar contract for three to five years is the question mark.
    Be very interesting to see in the coming days.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      Interesting idea, golfersal.

    • fpa4356 - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:54 PM

      Scioscia would be a mistake too. He is old-school. He’s just an experienced MW.

      • wskyrnr21 - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:53 PM

        ….. with a winning resume’

    • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      If he’s let go, I’m not sure any GM is going to hire him. And if the owner hires him, then the GM better start looking for a new job.

    • John20784 - Oct 5, 2015 at 4:54 PM

      Seriously? Williams’ salary is just $500,000 and yet Rizzo traded for an $11 Million prima donna closer in July which blows up the bullpen and Rizzo keeps his job? I really thought MLB managers were paid more than that.

    • natslive - Oct 5, 2015 at 6:57 PM

      Heard he’s not leaving Angels…coming back next year

    • natslive - Oct 5, 2015 at 6:58 PM

      Heard he’s coming back next year…not leaving the Angels

    • hummel26 - Oct 5, 2015 at 7:05 PM

      The Lerners have not believed in paying money to managers, thus far. So you get guys on the cheap.

  6. richardp6 - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Good to let the new manager select his staff.

  7. Section 222 - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    I’d be very interested to know whether Mark thinks that this dismissal indicates dissatisfaction with all of the coaches, or just an acknowledgment that the new manager should be able to bring in whoever he wants in these positions. Maybe a combination of both?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      I’m not Mark Zuckerman, but I’d argue it’s gotta be a combination of both. It may also be a sign that they’re planning to bring in a ‘name’ manager, who will want/insist on having the authority to hire his own coaches. Personally, as much as I hate to see anyone lose their jobs, think that after the wide-scale dysfunction of this year’s team — starting pitching, relief pitching, defense, situational hitting — they really had to let them all go.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:06 PM

      Or whether the coaches had some of the same problems with Matt as some of the players did?

    • npb99 - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:36 PM

      My uneducated guess is that McCatty got some blame for the inconsistency of the much-heralded pitching staff.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:00 PM

        He had to. No idea whether deserved or not, but the pitchers underperformed (two no-hitters notwithstanding) and he was in charge (at least partly).

      • Guapo - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:59 PM

        At least he has a backup career as a nude model.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    One of the implications of a whole new coaching staff: a whole new approach to a “Nats Way” of doing things.

    A baseball organization, like most big organizations, doesn’t corner worth a damn. It’s hard to go a very different direction in philosophy quickly (one winter) without a rebuild of players, which they aren’t doing (yet). So the new guy will probably — hopefully — have a different skill set, but not a very different approach.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:04 PM

      OK, that was confusing, now that I re-read it.

      OH for an edit button!

      I was trying to say, a new manager might have a different way of interacting with the players (one can only hope), and a different approach to in-game strategy (ahem), but not a very different philosophy on how to approach the game overall, because the talent isn’t set up for that, and it’s Rizzo’s job, anyway, and he’s still here.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        Rizzo, BTW, is signed through 2016, with a team option for 2017. FWIW.

      • homeparkdc - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:39 PM

        Sofa, right about any organization making hard turns, but Rizzo said the FO was going to address all the “moving parts.” I assumed he meant players, too. Anticipating that some/several fan favorites may be gone next year.

    • wskyrnr21 - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      ………” Nats way”?

      Lack of hustle, throwing to wrong bases, base running fiasco, bunting miscues?

      We need a staff that emphasizes fundamentals and execution.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        That would be a good example, wskyrnr. At the top levels, it’s hard to teach players fundamentals if they don’t know them already, and at the lower levels, it’ll be a while before the changes start to show at the top.

      • senators5 - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:50 PM

        The good news is the farm managers are all very good teachers, especially Patrick Anderson in Hagerstown. Down the road it will be interesting to see if any of these teachers can become principals,,,errr,,,managers. MAT is the classic example of a talented young player called up before he was “schooled,” We will find out next year if the same is true for Turner who absolutely must bulk up over the winter.

  9. moozystar - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    How long ’till pitchers and catcher report? I miss baseball already.

    • NatsNut - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      Amen!

  10. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    Wow, that’s a major purge. Now, lose Papelbon. 😉

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    Oh, and ICYWW

    Coach Salaries
    Major League Baseball teams carry five to 10 assistant coaches, including two base coaches, a bullpen coach, and hitting and pitching coaches. Each earns between $150,000 and $700,000 per season, according to a 2011 story in The Wall Street Journal. Experience and success bring higher salaries. The Cardinals paid pitching coach Dave Duncan $750,000 in 2010, reported NBC Sports. The veteran instructor was baseball’s highest-paid pitching coach. In 2010, the Chicago Cubs gave hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo a deal worth $800,000 per season.

    from http://work.chron.com/much-major-league-baseball-coaches-make-23853.html

  12. abqnatsfan - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    Well, it will be very interesting this off season for the Nats. Hopefully Rizzo learned a painful lesson about hiring a manager and the need for some proven skills before putting a person in such a challenging position.

    Too bad about the coaches, though it was probably right to clean house and let the new manager start from scratch, maybe even bring one or two back, but as “his guys”, whoever “he” turns out to be.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:46 PM

      Seems only fair to let the new guy make his own choices, even if some of them turn out to be the same coaches. And that does send a message to the guys they’re interviewing, that they really are giving him the opportunity to bring in his own guys. But I doubt Weidemeier is among those re-hired.

  13. sunshinebobby - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Good start. Hopefully Rizzo has Cal Ripken’s cell phone number in Aberdeen.

    Total housecleaning. It was necessary. Some nice guys in this bunch, I’m sure, but they had to go.

    Now, about those players…

    Welcome to the 2016 Nationals–you WILL need a scorecard.

    • wskyrnr21 - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      Nicely said!

    • NatsNut - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      I’m in the NOT Ripken camp. This team does not need to be another internship for the Manager Training University.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:23 PM

        Ditto.

      • Sonny G 10 - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:57 PM

        I am in the NOT Ripken camp either for the same reason.

  14. Drew - Oct 5, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    Ron Gardenhire finished first in six of his first nine years with the Twins.

    He might be old school, but he can skipper teams with talent.

  15. 3on2out - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Cal Ripken is a Matt Williams doppelganger. An infielder with pop. Long career. No managerial experience. Good players rarely make good managers…they can’t relate to the struggles of mere mortals. Also he’s a lousy communicator. Have you seen him try to read the script for that ridiculous PNC commercial? Unlike his brother Billy, Cal is not a gifted speaker. Of all the names mentioned…his must not be considered seriously.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:20 PM

      If Rizzo wants managerial experience, Ripken’s not on the list.

    • npb99 - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:39 PM

      I’m amazed that posters keep bringing up ripken. No good reason whatsoever to hire him

      • NatsNut - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:02 PM

        Amen!

  16. philipd763 - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Friend in Lauderdale reports to me by phone today that Phillies were serving Dee Gordon fat pitches yesterday. Probably Phillies don’t like Harper. He certainly didn’t get any fat pitches from the Mets.

    • Candide - Oct 5, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      Yeah, I was wondering about that…

      • NatsNut - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:05 PM

        The thought crossed my mind too. Wouldn’t surprise me. But that pitcher didn’t get a 7+ ERA from just grooving pitches to Dee Gordon either.

      • ArVAFan - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:19 PM

        Shades of Jeter’s last hit?

      • natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2015 at 3:23 PM

        Me, too.

    • therealjohnc - Oct 5, 2015 at 5:01 PM

      The Phillies pitcher was 2-9 on merit going into that game, with an ERA near 8 and a WHIP of about 2. Further, he was a RH pitch-to-contact guy facing a left handed slap hitting speedster in Gordon while playing in front of one of the worst defenses in MLB. I told friends before the game Sunday to resign themselves to Gordon winning the title; I thought he’d go 4-4 with a BB. He went 3-4, but he hit a HR so I didn’t see that coming. It was in Citizen’s Bank SmallPark, though, so I’m not shocked.

      In addition to facing deGrom, Harper had to face him with shadows on the field in NY while it was overcast all game in Philly for Gordon. So I see no conspiracy, I just see a perfect storm of factors lining up.

  17. Section 222 - Oct 5, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    Good point NN. I can’t imagine that what the Lauterdale friend said is true. That pitcher has his own career and reputation to worry about.

    • Candide - Oct 5, 2015 at 7:18 PM

      But the manager, OTOH…

      “Hey, I’ll put this cheeseburger in to pitch against Gordon. Suck on it, Harper.”

      • Section 222 - Oct 5, 2015 at 7:57 PM

        Not buying it. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

      • NatsNut - Oct 6, 2015 at 6:10 AM

        LOL, Candide.

  18. nataddicted - Oct 5, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    Hi Everyone, We’re gonna need a lot of players, and obviously, a few coaches.

    Anyone have the man-crush that I have on Ichiro Suzuki? He played 153 games this year. He can be one of our two open outfield holes. He was on a one-year 2M deal this past season.

    • ehay2k - Oct 6, 2015 at 6:51 PM

      And apparently, he can also pitch!

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK9072
WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter