Davey Martinez and the Nationals’ made the decision to let the manager choose his own coaches now that he has a long-term deal in the nation’s capital, parting ways with pitching coach Paul Menhart, Chip Hale, who served as his bench coach in 2018-2019 and moved to third base in 2020, and Kevin Long, the Nats’ hitting coach for each of Martinez’s first three seasons on the bench in Washington, earlier this month.
Menhart, as quoted by Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga, said he learned, “when I spoke to [General Manager Mike Rizzo] that it was up to Davey to pick his own staff.”
“And I completely understand,” the now-former pitching coach added.
Martinez, the general consensus was, wanted to pick his own guys, after the previous staff members were hired around the same time he was in late 2017, and this afternoon the first coach was added, with the Nationals announcing that Jim Hickey is coming on as the new pitching coach in D.C.
Hickey, as the Nationals noted in a press release on the hire, spent, “the last two seasons (2019–20) as a special assistant for player development with the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
He also, “coached alongside Dave Martinez in Tampa Bay during Martinez’s time as the Rays’ bench coach (2008–14),” when Martinez was part of Joe Maddon’s staff.
“I am very excited to add Jim to our coaching staff and organization as a whole,” Martinez said in today’s press release:
“He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to the job. He’s led a lot of really good pitching staffs over the years and has been a part of many successful clubs along the way. He’s helped countless pitchers improve, achieve their full potential and become All-Stars. Jim and I worked together in the past and I am really looking forward to working with him again.”
The 2021 season will be Hickey’s 38th in baseball and his 16th as a pitching coach, after he served in the same role with the Chicago Cubs (2018), Tampa Bay Rays (2007–2017), and in Houston (2004–06).
Hickey will be the sixth pitching coach in the nation’s capital since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005, and third since Martinez took over as manager back in October of 2017, with Randy St. Claire (2005-09), Steve McCatty (2009-15), Mike Maddux (2016-17), Derek Lilliquist (‘18-19), and Menhart (‘19-’20) all coming and going over the years.