Nats finalize staff with assistant hitting coach, De La Rosa dropped from 40-man

The Nationals announced their 2024 coaching staff today, officially making four changes while ostensibly eliminating one position that had been created this year.

Davey Martinez will have a new bench coach (Miguel Cairo), third base coach (Ricky Gutierrez), first base coach (Gerardo Parra) and assistant hitting coach (Chris Johnson) by his side next season. They join four holdovers who return to their same positions: pitching coach Jim Hickey, hitting coach Darnell Coles, bullpen coach Ricky Bones and catching and strategy coach Henry Blanco.

In the end, the Nationals chose to replace Tim Bogar, Gary DiSarcina, Eric Young Jr. and Pat Roessler with two in-house promotions and two outside hires.

The hiring of Cairo, Gutierrez and Parra had previously been reported. Cairo, 49, becomes Martinez’s right-hand man in the dugout, the former longtime utilityman joining the Nats after spending 2021-22 as the White Sox’s bench coach (and interim manager when Tony La Russa took medical leave) and 2023 as the Mets’ minor league infield coordinator.

Gutierrez spent this season in the dugout as well as the Nats’ newly created run prevention coordinator. The 53-year-old former big league infielder was responsible for working with CJ Abrams and Luis García in the field, and he’ll continue to coach the team’s infielders while also replacing DiSarcina as third base coach. He has never coached third base in the majors but has done so in the minors as manager of the Reds’ Double-A affiliate in 2020-21.

Parra is no stranger to the Nationals, having endeared himself to the organization and fans alike as one of the most popular members of the 2019 World Series championship roster. The 36-year-old former outfielder retired in May 2022 and immediately was hired by the Nats as a special assistant to the general manager. He’ll now become a coach for the first time in his career, charged both with outfield defense and baserunning instruction after replacing Young.

Johnson is the other newcomer to the organization, hired to be Coles’ assistant hitting coach, replacing Roessler. The 39-year-old former third baseman was assistant hitting coach for the White Sox this season, his first as a major league coach and spending two years as hitting coach for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate.

* The Nationals cleared another spot on their 40-man roster today when outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester.

De La Rosa, 21, had been considered one of the organization's better outfield prospects, but he struggled at Single-A Wilmington this season, batting .240/.324/.361 with seven homers and 42 RBIs in 93 games. With Dylan Crews, James Wood and other outfielders now at the top of the organizational depth chart, De La Rosa's stock has dropped.

The Nats also announced that left-hander Matt Cronin, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. With today's moves, there are now 39 players on the 40-man roster.

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