The Washington Nationals made their first front office hire of the offseason today, naming former Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer a special assistant to GM Mike Rizzo, according to a news release. Schaefer had served as Joe Torre's bench coach the last three seasons in Los Angeles, but wasn't planning to be part of Don Mattingly's staff, feeling the rookie manager needed a younger aide.
The 66-year-old Schaefer has been a bench coach the last four seasons, serving a year with the Oakland Athletics before going to Los Angeles. He was twice the Kansas City Royals' interim manager, and has also worked as a special assistant for the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles.
Since he took over as GM, Rizzo has made a priority of stocking his front office with veteran baseball people, adding Davey Johnson and former White Sox GM Ron Schueler, among others, after last season. Much like Johnson, Schaefer gives Rizzo another experienced lieutenant without a specific job function; he'll likely perform a handful of scouting and player development tasks, while serving as another sounding board for the GM.