Nats fill out coaching staff behind Martinez
Washington officially hires Hale, Lilliquist, Bogar and Dillon, leaving bullpen coach as sole vacancy
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have surrounded first-time manager Dave Martinez with a veteran coaching staff, most of which was revealed Thursday afternoon. Chip Hale was officially named the club's bench coach, joining a staff that will also include pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, first-base coach Tim Bogar and assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon.
These latest additions give the Nationals a staff with plenty of Major League experience, including some coaches with managerial tenures. The club also made previously reported moves, such as the return of third-base coach Bobby Henley and hiring of hitting coach Kevin Long, official, meaning only one spot -- a bullpen coach -- remains open.
In Hale, the Nationals have a former manager to place alongside the rookie Martinez as well as a seasoned bench coach. Hale spent two years, 2015-16, as the manager of the D-backs, but before that was a veteran Major League coach. He was the A's bench coach from 2012-14 before returning as the third-base coach and infield instructor in 2017. From 2010-11, he was the Mets' third-base coach and infield instructor and served the same role for the D-backs in 2007-09. He has also managed in the Minors, and that sort of experience was valued by the Nationals.
The Nationals and Cardinals have effectively swapped pitching coaches, with former Nats pitching coach Mike Maddux joining St. Louis and now Lilliquist joining Washington after spending the past 16 seasons in the Cardinals' organization, including the last six as the Major League pitching coach. Lilliquist, a former Major League pitcher, started with St. Louis' organization as a pitching coordinator working with rehabbing pitchers in the Minors and as a pitching coach in the Minors. He eventually joined the Cardinals' Major League staff in 2011 as a bullpen coach before filling in and eventually taking over for Dave Duncan as the pitching coach.
When the Cardinals made the change from Lilliquist this offseason, they citied a need for a pitching coach who is more willing to utilize advanced metrics and data compiled by the baseball operations staff. The Nationals hired Martinez in part because of his background in analytics and wanted a manager who would be comfortable making decisions based in that thinking.
Bogar joins the Nationals as their first-base coach after spending the past two seasons as the Mariners' bench coach. He also comes with experience as a Minor League manager and former interim Rangers manager in 2014. This will be his first time as a first-base coach since he served with the Red Sox in that role in 2009. Bogar was with the Rays organization in 2008, when Martinez was Tampa Bay's bench coach, so the two are likely familiar with each other from that period.
Dillon got his start with the Nationals' organization as a hitting coach for Triple-A Syracuse from 2014-15 before joining the Marlins for the past two seasons as their Minor League hitting coordinator. Dillon spent four seasons in the Majors as a utility infielder. He will work alongside Long, who has spent the past 11 seasons as a hitting coach in New York, first with the Yankees for eight years, then the Mets for three.
These hires nearly complete this coaching overhaul for Washington this offseason and equips their first-time manager with a solid and respected coaching staff that should help Martinez's transition go smoothly.