Nats finalize coaching staff with Blanco

Newcomer named bullpen instructor, served with Martinez in Chicago under Maddon

November 14th, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Nationals finalized first-year manager Dave Martinez's coaching staff on Wednesday, officially naming Henry Blanco as their bullpen coach. Blanco will be the lone coach to join Martinez from the Cubs, with whom Martinez had served as the bench coach for the past three seasons.

Blanco had spent the past three seasons as the Cubs' quality assurance coach under manager Joe Maddon, and he brings with him some familiarity with Martinez.

The Nationals revealed the rest of their staff last week -- which includes bench coach Chip Hale, hitting coach Kevin Long, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon, first-base coach Tim Bogar and third-base coach Bobby Henley -- providing Martinez a supportive group loaded with experience.

"There was no one particular aspect of a coach that we were looking for," general manager Mike Rizzo said at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando this week. "We just wanted to get the best group to put around Davey that complements him and facilitates the things he was looking for.

"[Martinez] was acquainted with some, knew some better than others, but he wasn't here to hire friends and buddies that he's amassed over the years. He wanted to get the guys he felt would help him the best he can as a big league manager."

Hale and Bogar both have managerial experience at the Minor and Major League levels, Hale in two seasons with Arizona and Bogar as an interim Rangers manager in 2014. Long spent the past 11 seasons in New York as a hitting coach with the Yankees and Mets. Lilliquist had been in the Cardinals' organization for the past 16 seasons, the last six of which he spent as the Major League pitching coach.

At the conclusion of the GM Meetings, Rizzo will head to the team's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., to meet with the new Nationals coaching staff and discuss their outlook on the team.

"It'll be a good, lively discussion with our new group of guys," Rizzo said. "And [we'll] get a fresh opinion of what type of team we have and get their input on what are our needs and our wants."