Washington Nationals Mailbag: Bryce Harper and coaching staff decisions
By Blake Finney
It’s the first edition of our mailbag of questions about the Washington Nationals. This week we look at decisions around Bryce Harper and the coaching staff
This Monday, we’re debuting our new Mailbag column here at District on Deck. Moving forward we’ll be looking to take questions from Twitter about the Washington Nationals, and answer them in our article.
Want to know if we think a particular player will bounce back? We’ve got you covered. Have an idea of a player you want the Nationals to pursue and want to see if it’s realistic? We’re all over that too.
So let’s get our first mailbag of the offseason started with a question that will be part of a franchise-defining decision.
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From Nats Curly W (@NatsCurlyW): When do you think we will hear news of Bryce’s 2019 decision?
Bryce Harper is the biggest question mark around the Nationals offseason. There are no two ways about it. The Nats want him back and he wants to be back, for the right price, so a deal could happen.
Now, when it comes to a timeframe that we can expect a decision, his agent Scott Boras usually drags these things out to get every penny. His biggest free agents tend to sign somewhere around December and January in general.
Max Scherzer agreed his contract on January 21st, Chris Davis also agreed his on January 21st, while J.D. Martinez signed on February 26th, but the last offseason seems like the exception, not the rule.
Perhaps with the sheer magnitude of this deal, as it will eclipse all three of those contracts, we may get a slightly earlier decision than those contracts. So the smart money would say that a decision should come towards the start of January.
From The Nationals Post (@NatsPost): Is the entire coaching staff returning for 2019?
Now we’re just over a week removed from the end of the season, there have been no rumors of any imminent departures. This despite the fact that none of the coaching staff painted themselves in a positive light in 2018.
Davey Martinez’s job seems safe, based on all the signs Mike Rizzo has been giving off. Kevin Long has been well regarded around the league for a long time and appeared to finally fix the offense late in the season.
The two coaches who could be on the hot seat are Chip Hale and Derek Lilliquist. The idea behind Hale was to bring in a bench coach with experience managing at the highest level, but he wasn’t a hire Martinez had a say in, and it showed with the lack of chemistry. Lilliquist, on the other hand, did good work in St. Louis with their pitching staff but seemed to have a negative effect on this year’s Nats staff.
It’s always more difficult for those outside the four walls at Nats Park to evaluate the coaching staff. I think the front office will see who is available and potentially replace Chip Hale, but aside from that, everyone else should return.
Check back in next week as we answer your questions around the Washington Nationals. It’s going to be an interesting offseason, so you’re bound to have plenty of questions for us.