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Mike Maddux hired as new pitching coach

Nov 4, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

Mike Maddux, a longtime and well-respected big-league pitching coach, will hold that role on Dusty Baker’s staff with the Nationals, the club announced Wednesday.

Maddux, who just parted ways with the Rangers last week after seven seasons, becomes the first known member of Baker’s new staff in Washington, which could include other high-profile names.

The Nationals announced Maddux’s hiring Wednesday afternoon, saying the two sides came to terms on a contract Tuesday evening. USA Today reported that Maddux, who will attend Baker’s introductory news conference Thursday, had already agreed to work for the Nationals last week and would have served as Bud Black’s pitching coach had negotiations between the club and the former Padres manager not fallen apart.

Maddux, 54, brings instant credibility and experience to Baker’s coaching staff. He spent six seasons as Brewers pitching coach before joining the Rangers, where during the course of his seven years of employment he led a staff that appeared in two World Series and featured big-name stars including Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.

Texas general manager Jon Daniels told reporters last week that Maddux’s contract was expiring but the club made him an offer to return in 2016. Maddux informed the Rangers he wanted to explore other opportunities, with several teams in the market for a new pitching coach.

The older brother of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, Mike Maddux spent parts of 15 seasons himself as a big-league pitcher with nine different franchises, going 39-37 with a 4.05 ERA. Greg Maddux, who had been a special assistant to Daniels, also left the Rangers last week.

Mike Maddux becomes only the third pitching coach in Nationals history. Randy St. Claire, who remained with the franchise when it relocated from Montreal, held the position until June 2009. Steve McCatty replaced St. Claire that summer and remained in the dugout until he was fired along with the rest of former manager Matt Williams’ staff last month.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Bravo! Well played.

  2. Section 222 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:04 PM

    I suppose it was a foregone conclusion, but i’m glad McCatty won’t be back. A clean slate for the key positions (bench coach, pitching and hitting coach) is the best way to move forward. I’d be fine with Tarasco and Sendley coming back.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:15 PM

      Tarasco – yes
      Sendly – no way indeed

      • Section 222 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:17 PM

        I think I know why you say that, but honestly, no 3B coach is going to be right 100% of the time. And I’d rather err on the side of aggressive than cautious unless our offense becomes a whole lot better at producing runs.

  3. letswin3 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    I have no opinion, because I just haven’t followed Mike, but I know several NI guys like him. Maybe he will compliment DB’s style and history. I know several clubs wanted Mike, so that speaks well of the Lerner’s possibly easing up the learning curve relative to spending a few bucks to get the right guys to support Dusty.

  4. senators5 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:12 PM

    Having a Maddux on he bench and overseeing the BP. even if only 10% of his brother’s knowledge has worn off on him, Mike Maddux will be a great fit. Greg Maddux was one of the smartest pitchers ever from his days with the Cubs and the Braves.

    • infideljack - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:18 PM

      Since Gregg left the Rangers as well, I wonder if he will be asked to assume an advisory role here as well.

    • natsguy - Nov 4, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Actually it was Mike’s knowledge that wore off on Greg.

  5. Section 222 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:16 PM

    I wonder how many people like the idea of Maddux because they think we got Greg Maddux to be our pitching coach.

    • natsfan1a - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:23 PM

      So it’s true. Awesome.

    • natsfan1a - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:25 PM

      Ugh, didn’t mean to post that here. What I meant to post here was that I would think most NI denizens would be familiar with Mike’s resume, having seen him in Brewers and Rangers dugouts over the years.

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    Welcome Mr Maddux! Good Luck with working with the pitchers/BP. Hopefully we can still add a few more pieces (hey O’Day – you should come like 45 minutes south and get with our squad) and get on the ball.

  7. allquiet3022 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    Says something interesting about the prognosis for Nats’ SP and potential bullpen moves that Maddux voluntarily left his longtime Texas gig and the vacancy he chose was here.

    • texnat1 - Nov 4, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      I think Texas let him go.

      • sjm308 - Nov 5, 2015 at 1:49 AM

        I think a joint decision since Mark has quotes of Texa offering him a contract for 2016
        I think this the first coach under the Lerners to get a two year deal

  8. rmoore446 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    I like this hire and remember him from his playing days. Not Greg on the mound but he had a lengthy career and gets good reviews as a coach.

  9. jskurtzke - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Possible successor to Dusty Baker?

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      Interesting idea, jsk.

  10. sunshinebobby - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    Maddux is a great pick. He somehow got the Rangers pitching staff to pitch them into the playoffs despite playing in that launching pad where it’s always 98 degrees and the ball flies.

    I don’t get the vote, but I’m pulling for the return of Bo Porter for third base coach. And maybe more shouting matches with the Cubs dugout at Wrigley Field.

    Excellent first move by Mr. Baker.

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 4, 2015 at 6:05 PM

      Bobby, you remember Bo more fondly than I do. I saw Davey chewing him a new —in the dugout a couple of times for brain “freezes” at 3B.

    • janebeard - Nov 4, 2015 at 9:19 PM

      I’m with Sunshine n Bo. Bo got our guys to be aggressive and joyful. We need both those qualities. I want him back.

      I really liked Cat. I hope he ends up somewhere good.

    • sjm308 - Nov 5, 2015 at 1:48 AM

      As I read the article, Maddox was set to come no matter who the manager

  11. langleyclub - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    Kind of crazy that the initial plan was that he would be the PC for Black. Would love to know what role Rizzo played, if any, in keeping Maddux as part of the Nats’ staff.

    Mike Maddux is very well respected, and he made chicken salad out of what all of baseball thought was a chicken**** pitching staff (without Darvish) in Texas this past year (even so, Texas’s staff did lead the AL in walks in 2015). Encouraging hire. As well respected as Maddux is, he couldn’t keep Ross Detwiler’s career from falling into the abyss; hope someday Det will be able to harness his talent.

  12. npb99 - Nov 4, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    This seems like good news. But I’m curious on the timing of it – the story says this deal was in place before the managerial position was settled. Is it normal for GMs to hire those separately? I was under the impression a manager picks his staff, including pitching coach.

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 4, 2015 at 6:08 PM

      Good point, though we are assuming that it wasn’t run by Baker during negotiations.

    • natsguy - Nov 4, 2015 at 6:26 PM

      Matt Williams was not allowed to pick his.

      • infideljack - Nov 5, 2015 at 12:07 AM

        Rookies have fewer options. The Staff he inherited got him the MOY for 2014.

    • unkyd59 - Nov 4, 2015 at 8:11 PM

      I heard Buster Olney, when asked about this today, respond that it’s not so rare, these days, with FO personnel having a bigger say, as a rule, in choosing staff members, FWIW…

  13. NatsLady - Nov 4, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Just heard on TV (Bob Nightengale) that the Nats upped their offer to Black to three years/$6 million. If true, that is a very respectable offer; but he was ticked off at that point, so they went to Dusty for two/$4 million. I wonder if we will ever find out the full story.

    • NatsLady - Nov 4, 2015 at 7:06 PM

      Another thing I don’t understand about the negotiations is doesn’t Black have an agent? Why did it get so personal?

      • natsfan1a - Nov 4, 2015 at 8:28 PM

        I was wondering about agents, too. I also don’t understand one party offering a job, and the other party agreeing to take the job, without salary having been agreed upon. Seems back a-wards to me, but maybe they do it differently in baseball.

    • unkyd59 - Nov 4, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      Apparently, there’s another $3m in incentives, for Dusty, too…

    • janebeard - Nov 4, 2015 at 9:21 PM

      I think the Lerners negotiate like you do for real estate. Come in low, work your way up. They aren’t thinking about these are hearts and souls they’re buying, not just brains and experience.

  14. rmoore446 - Nov 4, 2015 at 7:29 PM

    I’ve turned the page on the Bud Black negotiations and am ready to move on. As for Bob Nightingale, the nastiest blast at the Nationals was from him yesterday in USA Today ripping them all the way back to the Strasburg shutdown and calling it “dysfunction junction” . Here’s a sample line: “They are the biggest underachievers in baseball, with karma coming back to bite them in the horsehide.” Read the article in yesterday’s USA Today and there is no mistaking he hates the club.

    Back to the future: looking at Mike Maddux’s record, he and F.P. Santangelo were teammates on the 1998 Expos. So I imagine we will hear a few stories from FP during the season.

    • garciamedialife - Nov 4, 2015 at 7:47 PM

      You’re right…it was nasty. He’s the one who broke the Maddux story today and it was interesting how much his tone changed today, especially when he had to report Maddux would likely be the highest paid coach in baseball. I had the sense of grudging respect on his part for the Maddux move.

    • natsfan1a - Nov 4, 2015 at 8:28 PM

      Good for Dusty.It was indeed nasty.

      • natsfan1a - Nov 4, 2015 at 8:30 PM

        Oh, I did a doubleheader reply. Heh.

        The first one was for Unk at 8:12, and the second was for rmoore at 7:29.

    • homeparkdc - Nov 5, 2015 at 1:08 AM

      IMO, the whole Bud Black story was so full of innuendo, rumors, hate, and bad sports writing, that we may never know the truth. However, I rely on Rizzo for some professional HBPs to any responsible heads.

      • ehay2k - Nov 5, 2015 at 6:34 PM

        Wasn’t Don Baylor a professional HBP? (running, ducking)

  15. Sonny G 10 - Nov 4, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    Now if we can just get a high profile batting coach. We really need to get the offense going.

    • senators5 - Nov 4, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      You are right about a hitting coach, BUT the business of becoming more aggressive comes from the top. Hopefully, DB will latch on to this the very first day of SP and stay on it through the entire season. Maybe he should show videos of the Royals and how they made contact and start from the git-go stressing the old saying, “See the ball, hit the ball.” The Nats fully need to grasp the need for more contact and fewer Ks especially the backward ones, ie MAT.

      • infideljack - Nov 5, 2015 at 12:12 AM

        +6

      • kkpp3 - Nov 5, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        I wonder how much hitting coaches really matter. Maybe somebody like Charlie Lau … but others?

      • Joe Seamhead - Nov 5, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        Even Charlie Lau was fired as a hitting coach.

      • senators5 - Nov 5, 2015 at 7:30 PM

        Agreed that hitting coaches at the MLB level may be over rated, especially if your top guy and even your bench coach have proven track records for understanding hitting. Don’t know much about players intellectual capacities, but if they can read and comprehend what they read, every MLB position player should be required to read and then work through the steps Ted Williams’ presents in his classic book, The Science of Hitting. which emphasizes the need for every hitter to have a plan before he steps into the batters box each and every time. Watching the Nats last year, especially MAT and often ID and towards the end of the season,AR, it was painfully clear that they had no plan and all too often, no clue. I am so glad MW is gone because that alone reflected one of his many weaknesses as a leader.

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