Martinez saw chance to "bring some fresh guys in" with coaching changes

Davey Martinez dugout red

NASHVILLE – When it came time to evaluate his coaching staff at the end of the season, Davey Martinez knew it was time to make some changes. Even if it meant parting ways with some longtime confidants.

Tim Bogar was one of Martinez’s first hires after he was named Nationals manager in 2018, initially serving as first base coach before moving to bench coach. Pat Roessler joined the staff in 2020 as assistant hitting coach. Gary DiSarcina and Eric Young Jr. were added in 2022.

All are now gone, replaced by two in-house promotions and two outside additions in the biggest coaching staff shakeup Martinez has made in six years on the job.

“Obviously, it was a tough decision,” Martinez said today, his first public remarks since the moves were made in October. “Very close to all those guys. I’m going to miss them. But I thought it was an opportunity, being where we’re headed, to bring some fresh guys in, and some guys that are very well capable of coaching young players.”

The two in-house promotions: Ricky Gutierrez (who spent this season in the newly created position of run prevention coordinator) is now third base coach, while Gerardo Parra (who won the 2019 World Series as a player and then took on a front-office role in 2022) was named first base coach.

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Looking for a theme in Nats coaching staff changes

davey martinez staring

It’s not uncommon for a veteran manager to make changes to his coaching staff. It is somewhat uncommon, though, for a veteran manager to make changes to his coaching staff after he was just given his own contract extension near the end of a season most consider to have been more successful than the previous one.

When word got out last month the Nationals weren’t bringing back four of the eight coaches from Davey Martinez’s staff for next season, it raised at least a few eyebrows. But it also felt appropriate to withhold judgment until those positions were filled, at which point everyone could better understand what was intended all along.

Well, now we know what the full 2024 staff will look like. Out is longtime bench coach Tim Bogar, replaced by former White Sox bench coach (and interim manager) Miguel Cairo. Out is third base coach Gary DiSarcina, replaced from within by run prevention coordinator Ricky Gutierrez. Out is first base coach Eric Young Jr., replaced from within by fan favorite and briefly special assistant to the general manager Gerardo Parra. And out is longtime assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler, replaced by former White Sox assistant hitting coach and big league third baseman Chris Johnson.

Two in-house replacements. Two outside additions. Two with prior big league coaching experience. Two with no prior big league coaching experience. Two former infielders replaced by two former infielders. One former outfielder replaced by a former outfielder.

And what conclusions, if any, can we draw from all this? Martinez hasn’t publicly spoken about the changes yet. Mike Rizzo declined to comment Wednesday about the coaching moves because they hadn’t been officially announced yet, but in referencing the overhaul of his scouting and player development departments he told reporters at the GM meetings in Arizona: “I think change is good. I think that we needed a refresh to a lot of parts of our baseball operations department, and we did. We’ve never been afraid to make moves … We brought in a lot of good people, and I think there’s going to be a different look, and I think it’s going to be really effective.”

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

davey and rizzo sitting

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.

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Source: Nats hiring Miguel Cairo as bench coach


After filling two vacant spots on their coaching staff with in-house promotions, the Nationals are now filling a prime vacancy with a notable outside name.

Miguel Cairo will be Davey Martinez’s new bench coach, a source familiar with the decision confirmed, reuniting the former Tampa Bay teammates and giving Martinez another experienced voice in the dugout.

Cairo, 49, spent this season as the Mets minor league infield instructor, but he spent the previous two seasons as the White Sox bench coach, ultimately taking over as interim manager for several months while Tony La Russa dealt with a medical issue.

A veteran of 17 big league seasons with nine different organizations from 1996-2012, Cairo was a well-regarded utility infielder who played all around the diamond. He was still a young player when he and Martinez (then nearing the end of his career) were teammates with the then-Devil Rays from 1998-2000 and forged a friendship.

Martinez has spoken highly of Cairo in the past and lobbied for him to get the White Sox’s full-time managerial job after La Russa retired. Chicago instead hired Pedro Grifol for the position, leaving Cairo to find employment with the Mets instead.

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