Dusty Baker’s work continues to fill out his coaching staff with a few important openings remaining. Shortly after the Nationals hired Baker as manager on Nov. 3, the team announced Mike Maddux as new pitching coach and baserunning expert Davey Lopes as new first base coach.
On Friday, Baker was asked on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio about other coaches he plans to add to his staff in Washington.
“I really can’t let the cat out of bag,” Baker joked with hosts Casey Stern and Jim Bowden. “We’re trying to recruit a third base coach and a bench coach. Now Chris Speier is gonna fill one of those voids.”
The Nationals have made no official announcement on Speier, who spent six seasons in Cincinnati working as Baker’s infield coach and bench coach. The 65-year-old Speier was three-time All-Star during his 19-year major league career, which included stops in San Francisco, Montreal, St. Louis, Minnesota and with the Chicago Cubs. The former shortstop has held numerous coaching positions in his post-playing days, including serving as third base coach for the 2001 World Series champion Diamondbacks.
Late Friday night, the Washington Post reported that Rick Schu is expected to remain with the Nationals as hitting coach. To date, Schu would be the lone Nationals coach from Matt Williams’ staff to return in the same capacity.
“I don’t believe in going into a new organization and cleaning house,” Barker said on MLB Network Radio, “because you’ve got to have somebody that has some kind of opinion, or a semblance, that you trust in personnel.”
The 66-year-old Baker and 53-year-old Schu attended the same high school in the Sacramento, Calif.. area, though obviously more than a decade apart.
“I’m kind of like taking a condensed course on the team,” Baker said on MLB Network Radio. “That’s why I kept Rick Schu still in the fold, because I’ve got to have somebody there that kind of knows the players, that I trust his judgement.”
Baker didn’t confirm the hire during his radio interview, only saying that the two planned to meet after Schu’s vacation. Baker also indicated other key positions he’s working to working to fill.
“We gotta try to come up with a bullpen guy and a catching guy - which I think baseball has done a poor job of,” Baker said on MLB Network Radio. “The catching guy is usually the first guy to be let go and the last guy to sign, but I think that is one of the most important positions on the field. It’s somebody to direct the catchers that direct the pitchers. And they are a direct reflection on me and they are my field generals. Also, we have to come up with an assistant batting coach.”
Baker revealed his philosophy for assembling his coaches to help mold the entire team effort.
“I believe in a diversified staff,” Baker said. “I want some old, some young, some white, some black, some Latin. Everybody has to have somebody that they can converse with or talk to. Let’s face it, I’ve always said that the coaches are like talking to your uncle. You know, you can tell your uncle anything. Talking to the manager is like talking to your dad. I can tell my dad most things, but there are certain things I can’t tell my dad. I don’t know about you, but I can tell my uncle anything. You need someone that you can tell anything to on your staff.”