Thoughts on the Four Nationals Coaches Not Returning

The Nationals front office continues to shift the organization's staff, informing four coaches they will not be brought back.
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Brett Davis/GettyImages

The list of changes to the Nationals staff continues to grow as four coaches were informed they would not be returning, per Britt Ghiroli. First base coach Eric Young Jr., bench coach Tim Bogar, third base coach Gary DiSarcina, and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler will not be back with Davey Martinez for the Nationals' 2024 season.

This announcement comes only a little over a week after the most recent change to the staff, with the news that De Jon Watson will not return as the Nationals' director of player development.

The departure of first base coach Eric Young Jr. will likely be the most impactful of the group. After coaching for the Seattle Mariners Triple-A affiliate Tacoma Rainiers, Eric Young Jr. was announced as the Washington Nationals first base coach in October 2021. His focus was on effective baserunning for the Nats, and his hard work paid dividends, with CJ Abrams breaking a franchise record with 47 stolen bases in the 2023 season. The players also had a visual on-field positive reaction to Young Jr., and clearly showed a positive relationship with him.

Bench coach Tim Bogar was the coach most familiar with the team that was let go, having been hired in 2017 to start with the Nationals in the 2018 season. Bogar was often seen more as an assistant manager to Davey Martinez, taking over several times in his absence in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and demonstrated a clear ability to competently play matchups and manage the workloads of relief arms. There were even rumblings around the league that Bogar could get interviews for Managerial openings around the league. Safe to say, Bogar should find another gig sooner rather than later.

Roessler has been with the team since the start of the 2020 season, and DiSarcina joined the staff before the 2022 season. Roessler was previously the Mets hitting coach in 2018. DiSarcina was formerly the Red Sox bench coach during the 2017 season. With the Nationals, DiSarcina has worked with the infielders, and has played a part in workshopping CJ Abrams defense, and likely helped push Abrams through his early-season defensive stumbles.

It has also been reported, by Britt Ghiroli and Andrew Golden respecitvely, that Jim Hickey will return as pitching coach and Darnell Coles will return as hitting coach. These are the most influential decisions from the front office, as these two coaches have the most immediate impact on the shaping of the Nationals' young core with their unique philosophies on pitching and hitting respectively. Hickey-- who has been somewhat divisive within the fanbase because of a reported lack of focus on analytics-- will continue to guide a staff of young starters including Josiah Gray, Mackenzie Gore, and likely Cade Cavalli. Darnell Coles will return to lead the young lineup with his contact-first coaching prototype that led the Nationals to rank 10th in MLB in hits this season, but kept them barely above the bottom in total home runs and was near dead last in the league in team OPS.

The Nationals seem to be making changes in the areas where the team actually showed signs of improvement. Puzzling decisions, to say the least. But these are turbulent times to be a Nationals' staffer.