When Matt Williams was fired as Nationals manager, his entire staff was also informed that their contracts were not being renewed. However, shortly after, general manager Mike Rizzo made it clear that some coaches were welcome back if the new manager wanted their services.
This morning, the Nationals announced that Bob Henley will coach third base on Dusty Baker’s staff in 2016, assuming the same position he has held the previous two seasons in Washington. Last week, Baker chose Rick Schu, another holdover from Williams’ staff, to continue as Nationals hitting coach next season.
Henley was one of three Nationals coaches - along with former bench coach Randy Knorr and former bullpen coach Matt LeCroy - to accept other jobs within the organization after their contracts weren’t renewed. Henley had agreed to take on the role of senior adviser for player development for the Nationals before receiving the offer to return as third base coach.
Henley will be entering his 26th season with the franchise. The former catcher was drafted by the Expos in 1991 and made his major league debut with Montreal in 1998. Injuries ruined his career, limiting him to just 41 big league games. He moved on to coaching and began his managerial career with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Expos in 2003. He spent the next seven seasons managing in the Expos/Nationals farm system before serving as minor league field coordinator from 2010-2013.
Henley’s re-hiring gives Baker an experienced coach to work with catchers. Baker has already named Mike Maddux as pitching coach, Davey Lopes as first base coach, Schu as hitting coach, Jacque Jones as assistant hitting coach and Chris Speier as infield coordinator. It seems that Speier will become Baker’s bench coach since Rizzo said last week he would either be working in that capacity or as third base coach. That leaves only a bullpen coach for Baker to hire.
Note: According to Baseball America’s minor league free agent tracker, the Nationals have signed former Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer to a minor league contract. He was outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Nov. 2 and granted free agency on Nov. 6.
The 29-year-old Schafer owns a career .212/.286/.319 slash line in five seasons with the Brewers, and hit .221 with a homer and six RBIs in 69 games in 2015. He’s primarily a center fielder, but can also play the corner outfield spots.