Though no press release has been issued by the team at this point (--ed. now it has at 3:02 pm), pitching coach Randy St. Claire was relieved of his duties Monday night, according to Nats Journal.
St. Claire was the longest-tenured Nationals coach, reaching back to its days as the Montreal Expos.
That's life," St. Claire told Nats Journal. "I've been in this game for 31 years. I've been fired before. But it's a tough one... I would have liked to be around when the organization takes off."
"The pitching isn't performing up to where it needs to be to win, and I think a lot of factors go into it, but I guess I'm easier to replace than 12 guys," he said. "Easier to replace and cheaper to replace. But that's the game. When the team doesn't perform, they're bound to make changes."
The thing is, the Nats did change most of the pitching staff over the last two months. And they've had a parade of pitchers in here the last three years. Other than Odalis Perez, can anyone remember any of them exceeding expectations?
I don't want to be (overly) critical of a guy that was just shown the door, since I've been defending the manager all season as not having the right parts to be fairly judged. St. Claire clearly had the reputation as a good pitching coach.
It's just tough to justify his reputation based on the past three seasons, as the staff has progressively gotten worse, to the point te bullpen is now: full of re-tread veterans because the kids that management hoped would be ready to be big leaguers turned out to be the "not ready for prime time players".
Syracuse pitching coach Steve McCatty replaces St. Claire. Hard to envision for how long though.
One has to wonder how much time this buys Manny Acta. Is it the homestand? All-star break? Or do they just let him twist all summer as a lame duck and wipe the slate clean on Labor Day?
I'll continue to defend Acta, because I think he's going to be a good manager, once he has a complete team to field, and not a "beer league softball team", as resident expert Rob Dibble said the other day.