Trea Turner, who led all Washington Nationals’ players with 46 stolen bases in 2017, talked during WinterFest last month about what it was like to work with the Nats’ now-former first base coach, Davey Lopes. Lopes wanted you to run. All the time.
“He was always running no matter what and he got mad at you when you didn’t,” the Nationals’ 24-year-old shortstop told reporters.
“I told you guys that time and time again, and that goes a long way, and I think that’s kind of what I’m taking away from him is just his aggression and confidence.”
Things will likely be different with new first base coach Tim Bogar taking over as part of Dave Martinez’s staff in 2018.
“I talked to Bogar a little bit just to get his thought process,” Turner said, “but he basically told me whatever works for me he’ll help me and we’ll communicate with that, but like I said I haven’t talked to him much more than that, but I think it’s a matter of just being confident.”
“I wish I had a little more to do with stealing and all that,” Bogar said when he too spoke to reporters at WinterFest in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“My job is to make sure they’re prepared when they get to first base to get to second base. It’s not my decision to tell them to go or not, but just so if they do have an opportunity I’m over there as a resource for them and help them get to the next couple bases.”
Bogar, 51, spent the last two seasons as the bench coach in Seattle, and he has some experience as a manager in both the minors and majors, so he’s another veteran coach that’s part of Martinez’s staff, and he spent time with the Nats’ new skipper in 2008 in Tampa Bay.
“I’ve know Davey since we played against each other in the big leagues, so I’ve known him for quite a while, and then working with him over in Tampa,” Bogar explained.
“We’re pretty close friends,” Bogar said. “I would say we’re friends more than we are working compadres. We spent that year together in Tampa so I got to know what he was about and I really like being with him. He’s a smart guy, very open to suggestions, and he just wants the best out of everybody. So, great with relationships. He’s taught me quite a bit.”
Asked what about Martinez made him think the bench coach in Tampa and Chicago would make a good manager one day, Bogar offered the following thoughts.
“The first thing I always think about when you talk about a future manager is his ability to communicate and build relationships with players,” Bogar said, “and not only just the players, but the front office too.
“And being around Joe [Maddon] and being in Tampa, I just saw him grow so much that year, the players, they respect him so much, he has a good way about himself so that he reaches them in their environment.
“We were talking about it last night, about how we have to adjust. We’re getting old, and we have to adjust to that a little bit, so he does that very well. And just watching him do those type of things, it’s fun to be around.”
Bogar’s brief tenure as a manager in the majors, late in 2014 in Texas, did give him a little bit of insight into what it’s like. So what if any advice can he offer to Martinez?
“I think managing at any level,” Bogar said, “it all comes back to your relationship with the players and being able to get them to perform, putting them in the best position possible.
“What’s changed the most is just the analytics and being able to understand that and use it to your advantage.
“I think a lot of times people just look at it as if it’s the one way to go. I think once analytics came into the game, everybody was like, ‘Oh, it’s the answers for everything, and now they’re kind of understanding that it’s a big part of it, but we also need to use our eyes and our ears and rely on the players and they kind of teach us what we can give them and what they can handle.”