Here's the deal with Nats' coaching shuffle

January 7th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jessica Camerato’s Nationals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Let’s take a look at manager Dave Martinez’s coaching staff, including changes to four key roles. Martinez discussed these new additions last month at the MLB Winter Meetings.

New coaches for 2024 
• Bench coach:
• Last season: Mets Minor League infield coordinator
• Martinez: “[I’ve] known him for years. He was a bench coach with Tony [La Russa], so he learned a lot over there with them. I can't say enough about him. He's a baseball rat. [He] knows the game very well. He knows all aspects of the game. He's done a lot in his career.”

• First-base coach:  
• Last season: Nationals’ front office special assistant 
• Martinez: “We all know Parra. It was just a matter of whether Parra was going to want to do it, and he committed to being a full-time coach. But he'll bring a lot to our outfielders and our baserunning that we want to get better at.”

• Third-base coach:  
• Last season: Nationals run prevention coordinator 
Martinez: “Ricky, who was with us last year, did a great job with [shortstop] CJ Abrams, Candy [former Nats third baseman Jeimer Candelario]. Candy loved him, so he gets the opportunity to coach third base.”

• Assistant hitting coach: Chris Johnson 
• Last season: White Sox assistant hitting coach 
Martinez: “So far in his young career, he's brought a lot. I heard nothing but great things about him. I interviewed him, talked to him. He knows a lot about hitting. I think he's going to complement our team really well and help our kids out a lot.”

Returning coaches 
• Hitting coach: Darnell Coles 
• Pitching coach: Jim Hickey 
• Martinez: “I love those guys. Those guys work really hard. Players really bought into what they want to do. They have gotten better, so they will be back.”

New to role, but familiar to players 
• Martinez: “Parra was around quite a bit, so he knows these guys. Ricky's known these guys, as well. … [Cairo] wants to get to know the guys a little bit before he comes to Spring Training, so he's going to start reaching out to guys and introduce himself.”

Approach to a revamped coaching staff 
• Martinez: “I think these guys are well capable of doing the job. As you know, I don't micromanage these guys. These guys are going to coach. They're an extension of my voice, but they're going to be allowed to do what they do. I've known these guys for years. I've known them as players, and I know them as a person, as well. And they're all-in. They're eager to get going.”