ATLANTA – Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez both learned they would be back in 2024 within the last month. The fate of Martinez’s coaching staff, though, remains undecided heading into the season’s final weekend.
Each of the Nationals’ eight official major league coaches, not to mention other uniformed coaching personnel, is on an expiring contract. It appears each will head home after Sunday’s finale and await word from the organization about the plan for 2024.
“I’m going to sit down with Riz and talk a lot about what needs to transpire for next year,” Martinez said earlier this week when asked if he expects any changes to his staff. “We haven’t talked yet about that. I’m just trying to finish up our exit meetings with players.”
One year ago, Martinez already knew every member of his staff would be returning, each having signed two-year deals the previous winter. That’s not the case this time around, though given the club’s progress from 55 to at least 70 wins, it stands to reason most (if not all) of the coaches will return.
“You think about where we’re at right now, we win a few more games and we’ve won a lot more games than we did last year,” Martinez said. “Developing young players, that’s what we’ve done. They have gotten a lot better. I’m really happy about that and excited about that.”
The Nationals’ staff has undergone changes several times during Martinez’s six-year tenure as manager. Only two coaches (bench coach Tim Bogar, catching and strategy coach Henry Blanco) remain from his original 2018 staff, and each has changed positions since then.
Assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler was hired in 2020. Pitching coach Jim Hickey was hired in 2021. Hitting coach Darnell Coles, third base coach Gary DiSarcina, first base coach Eric Young Jr. and bullpen coach Ricky Bones all were hired in 2022.
Asked today how he evaluates a coach’s performance, Rizzo pointed to individual players’ improvement more than the team’s overall numbers.
“I think it’s the way they deal with a player on a day-to-day basis,” the GM said. “What have they done to help him grow, and to make him better? I see stuff every day that these guys do. They all work hard, they all put the time into it.”
Like his manager, Rizzo insisted no decisions have been made yet, with discussions set to take place next week.
“Davey and I will sit down after the season’s over, and we’ll go over that with ownership and make decisions on what we want to do, and who we want to bring back, if any or all,” he said. “Those are usually Davey decisions, but we always have input with it with myself and the front office.”