Monday, July 22, 2013

Eckstein fired, Schu takes over

USA Today Sports Images
[Updated 5:36 p.m.]

Stuck in a season-long offensive funk that actually got worse over the last two weeks, the Nationals fired Rick Eckstein today, a move that contradicted overwhelming public support for the hitting coach from club officials no matter how unproductive his lineup had been.

Rick Schu, the organization's minor-league hitting coordinator, will take over big-league coaching duties, beginning on Tuesday as the Nats host the Pirates.

The Nationals can only hope a new voice — not to mention today's surprising shakeup — can get this struggling offensive group on track before it falls completely out of the race in the NL East.

The Nationals rank 14th out of 15 NL clubs in runs scored, on-base percentage and OPS this season, and 13th in batting average and total bases. They scored only five total runs during a weekend sweep at the hands of the Dodgers and over their last 12 losses have scored a total of 18 runs.

Through it all, general manager Mike Rizzo — and especially manager Davey Johnson — offered unyielding support for Eckstein. Only two days ago, Johnson referred to Eckstein as "the best instructor" he'd ever had.

Johnson personally informed Eckstein of the news he was being let go, meeting him in the team waiting room on Monday afternoon. As a friend, he felt like he owed him the gesture.


"I felt like I had to be the one to tell him. I owed him that much respect," Johnson said. 

Telling Eckstein himself "didn't make it any easier" according to Johnson. Monday, in fact, was very tough for Nationals skipper.

"I’ve experienced a lot of things in my career. I’ve been traded, I’ve been released, I’ve been sold, I’ve been fired," he said. "But today is arguably the toughest day I’ve had in baseball."

"I respect Rick Eckstein, I think he’s a great coach. I think he’s one of, if not the best hitting instructor in baseball. He’s just a great gentleman and a great man. It hurts."

Rizzo felt it was time to make a change, even if it meant letting go the only hitting coach he's had as a general manager.

"Rick Eckstein is a fine hitting coach, he’s a Major League caliber hitting coach, and a lot of this falls on the players," Rizzo said. "This is a players’ league and the players are paid to perform and they haven’t, so it’s the voice of that and the guy who’s in charge of that, we felt we needed a different perspective and a different way of doing things."

Johnson spoke out in defense of Eckstein multiple times this season and said he still doesn't agree with move.

"Obviously I’m not in agreement with it," he said. 

Rizzo confirmed on Monday that the move was his decision and not Davey's.

"This was a general manager’s decision. I respect Davey to the point where I run everything that we do by him, but there’s certain things that we may not agree on and this was one of them. I felt we needed a change and so I made the change."

Earlier this month Johnson said in defending Eckstein: "if you fired him, you might as well fire me." Though he told Rizzo it was an option when they discussed getting rid of Eckstein, he has no plans to resign.

"I’m not quitting," he said. "In my discussions about firing Rick I said there’s other options, you can do away with me if you want a change of scenery or change the philosophy. I’m more concerned at this moment about my club."

Rizzo said he and the Nationals front office don't see need for a change at manager either.

"Well we’re not going to fire Davey Johnson," he said. "He’s a pro, Davey’s a pro, been through a lot of this stuff before, and we’re not worried about our manager. He’s one of the best in baseball and I trust him."

Eckstein had held his position as the Nationals' major-league hitting coach since October 2008, surviving the departures of two previous managers (Manny Acta and Jim Riggleman). A tireless worker who spent countless hours with players watching video and working on technique in the cage, he was the majors' only hitting coach who never played professionally, his career having been derailed by injuries while at the University of Florida.

During Eckstein's tenure in Washington, the Nationals rose from the having worst record in baseball in 2009 to the best in 2012. Along the way he saw many of his pupils enjoy career years, an aspect that makes it difficult for several Nats players to swallow.

"Rick was part of something really special here," Ian Desmond said. "It gets hard to remember that a couple of years ago there were 15,000 or 20,000 people in the stands and a sub-.500 team getting run out there every day. With Rick we got better, we continued to get better and we ended up winning a division title. I think he’s got four or five Silver Sluggers on his resume."

Desmond won the Silver Slugger for NL shortstops in 2012 and credits Eckstein a lot for his development.

"I’m one of the guys who had a Silver Slugger while he was here so me and Rick worked well together," Desmond said. "I think one of the best qualities of Rick was that he was the epitome of a team player. If I said, ‘Rick I want to go out and hit in some rain and lightning,’ he would do it."

Schu, meanwhile, spent parts of 11 seasons in the 1980s and 90s in the big leagues with the Phillies, Orioles, Tigers, Angels and Expos. He had been the Nationals' minor-league hitting instructor the last four seasons.

Rizzo said he thinks the Nats are in good hands with their new hitting coach.

"Rick Schu I thought was the perfect guy at the perfect time," he said. "I’ve worked with him before, I was comfortable with him. He knows all the players, and he’s been a good hitting coach in the Major Leagues, knows all our young hitters, and knows a lot of the veteran guys and has a good feel for it."

The players know Eckstein's firing has a lot to do with their own performance on the field and they feel their struggles this season haven't been his fault. Ryan Zimmerman said that, if the Nats do get it going, it will be up to the players and not Schu.

"No coach is going to come in here and turn someone who isn’t a .300 hitter into a .300 hitter," he said. "When it comes down to it, no hitting coach or pitching coach can do anything about this but us."

Chase Hughes contributed to this report

135 comments:

PChuck said...

FINALLY!

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Aww man... my comment got deleted and Idk why...

Anyways, just heard about Eck... Interesting move as I do wonder how many teams who fired their hitting coach mid-season went on to make a post season appearance...

Its a shame really as Eck was also there when this offense was on fire last year... But this is a direct message to the players.. You are sucking at your job and it caused someone else their job...

Maybe its a panicky move or maybe it was overdue... But I think either way this would have been Eck's last year regardless since a new manager is coming next year...

TimDz said...

Anyone got a live chicken?

JaneB said...

Wow. I know a bunch of people here will be happy. I hope it helps. Rick was an upright and honorable guy, no question. I wish him all the best. And I hope Schu is a true fix, either through real help or placebo effect.

JamesFan said...

This was a predictable, logical move. It is a signal to players about accountability.

Frankly, I thought Eck looked over-matched. Hitters regressed, did not seem to be able to adjust. Their team approach to a particular pitcher did not seem practical. Maybe this was the fault of players who didn't listen to him, but that raises other issues about Eck.

It was the right move. Let's see if it works.

SCNatsFan said...

I hope it help to, I'd hate to have a guy fired just because we chose to do something. By all accounts a good guy who just had his life turned upside down; that being said, sports are performance based. If the field isn't green then you fire the head greenskeeper.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

After Rizzo saw how McGwire handled his players in the key situations over the weekend, not surprised. Nats were out-coached at every level over the weekend.

paul brandt said...

long overdue...hope he takes his clipboard and notebook with him. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hope it works...now they should have the "team meeting" and bring back Mikey Mo for some good karma, can't hurt. I realize our chances are slim but its not like the Braves are running away with it...I really hope this team goes on a roll.

Eugene in Oregon said...

A necessary move, if only for the symbolism involved. Certainly not one that I would expect to pay immediate dividends, as any changes in the approach of individual hitters will -- I assume -- take several weeks to implement and lock-in. But I hope the shake-up at least causes everyone on the team to take a deep, cleansing breath and focus a bit more on their fundamentals. Go Nats!

blovy8 said...

It sounds similar to the Randy St. Claire deal, nothing wrong with the coaching, just the results.

Pilchard said...

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Nats front office is a tension convention right now. The team has stumbled for almost 4 months, and is headed for a free-fall. Absent a turn-around, Rizzo may be gone, any thought of the Nats asking Davey to return are gone, and the idea of the Nats hiring from within to replace Davey are slipping away too.

The payroll on this team esclates with each season, and now the foundation does not seem as rock-solid as it did in April.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Schu better be hanson or this move is worthless.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hands on....

Tcostant said...

I was hoping for Howard Johnson, but will settle for anyone who not Eckstein.

Maybe Eckstein is not allowed to talk to the press?

NatsLady said...

Remember that Wounded Warrior game they had last year? I know it was only exhibition--but the guy who got the best hits--Rick Eckstein.

A DC Wonk said...

The payroll on this team esclates with each season, and now the foundation does not seem as rock-solid as it did in April.

The foundation is still plenty firm. First thing's first: starting pitching. Not only do the Nats have top-notch 1-2-3 starters, but they're all young and under Nats control for a while. Rendon and Ramos are still relative babes. (Harper is 20). Even Ian is pretty young.

A mighty strong foundation.

Ishmael said...

There is a Baseball Prospectus article analyzing what happens after a team fires its hitting coach. Unfortunately, I'm not a subscriber, so can't read it. If I had to guess, I'd say the teams revert to their historical numbers, but nothing more than that.

Doc said...

Eckstein was not the problem, nor is any hitting coach the problem when a team doesn't hit.

As we all should know by now, Davey Johnson directs all the hitting stuff(and directed Eck) that the Nats players don't seem to be doing.

Yesterday's game was a disaster, but it was the first two games of the Dodger series that really demonstrated the undisciplined batting talents of this team.

Correctomundo blovy8, Randy St. Claire was a great coach before he was fired, as he is now.

All the best Eck!!!!

Eugene in Oregon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
djinFl. said...

I doubt this symbolic move will change things. Since being handed this years championship, they haven't listened to anyone when it comes to bunting, running the bases, holding on runners along with most basic fundamentals of the game. No, firing the lowest paid guy on the bench is simply symbolic, letting the fan base know they are on top of things.
Good luck Eck.

MicheleS said...

Best of luck to Eck.. Stand up guy that was the scapegoat. I hope something clicks with the guys at some point. They players need swift kick in the rear end. It's on them.

Secret wasian man said...

If you are in charge of a shipping warehouse and the shipments don't go out on time or are shipped wrong, then ultimately it is the bosses fault. Eck is the boss of hitting. He needed to go.

Sec. 1 D, 10 T, My Sofa said...

And the ritual throwing of the deck chairs overboard commences.

Secret wasian man said...

I will say Davey didn't always put in the best lineup to help the hitting. Still can't get over Hairston hitting the other night and not Lombo

Section 222 said...

Since Rizzo supported him, Davey supported him, and the players supported him (most recently Zim in postgame comments about how the poor play is not the coaches' fault), I'd love to know what really happened behind the scenes. Did the Lerners lay down the law? Was Werth pulling the strings? Was Rizzo talking out of both sides of his mouth? Did Davey sign off on it because Rizzo said, "I can fire him or fire you both. Take your pick."?

I do think this move shows panic. Ritual sacrifices don't actually change anything for anyone other than the person (or animal) that got sacrificed. Cutting Chad Tracy or announcing that Span and Hairston would platoon from now on would have more of an effect.

Doc said...

Actually, as noted above wasian, Davey is the boss of hitting. Davey has never had a team where he wasn't the boss of hitting.

However, not even the boss gets his way lots of times!

JD said...


When a coach is fired this is generally considered a shot across the bow to the manager and you know that Eck is Davie's guy.

There is very little evidence that hitting coaches have very much to do with team batting slumps and they rarely make much of a difference in the team performance long term. But someone had to pay for this putrid season.

Scooter said...

Schu needs to go NOW.

Secret wasian man said...

Well then Davey needs to,go also. I like Davey. He's a great Dad, husband, grand dad.... But he has lost this team.

Secret wasian man said...

JD 100 games is not a slump. It's a LOFT problem. (Lack of talent). The f is up to you.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Eckstein won't be out of work long. Indeed he may still be employed elsewhere in the Nationals organization. Clueless haters like Ghost of Steve M. will portray this as Eckstein losing an ideological battle over hitting approach, but it's not. The truth of the matter is that the hitting coach doesn't impart a hitting approach for the team at all, because such a thing doesn't exist in baseball. Every batter is an individual and has his own hitting approach and mechanism. As is often said, hitting is a matter of constant adjustment. The league adjusts to the hitter, and the hitter has to make the adjustment in return. Everything has to adjust, including approach. And on any given day, every single hitter is in a completely different place in the cycle. A coach can't impose an approach on the team. What a coach does is work with players to uncover mechanical flaws or other problems that are keeping them from being the best hitter they can be. And for even the best coaches there is a shelf life. Sometimes the players just need to hear a different voice, and that's not an indictment of the incumbent.

In the grand scheme of things (as my brother Phil always says), firing the hitting coach midseason is barely one step higher on the scale of things that will make a difference than sacrificing a rubber chicken. Maybe things will get better now, maybe they won't. But if they do, the change in hitting coach will have nothing at all to do with it.

Secret wasian man said...

Listening to all the posts here it sounds like the hitting coach is,irrelevant. Then why have one to begin with. I bet you things improve starting tonight. At least they tried something. Next move is to showmSPAN the door.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Cutting Chad Tracy or announcing that Span and Hairston would platoon from now on would have more of an effect.

It is totally a sacrificial move, but that doesn't mean it's panic. Baseball people are a superstitious lot. Gotta do something to shake things up, see if it helps. It's like when Billy Martin pulled his lineup out of his hat.

Eck can probably blame Tracy for having to be the sacrificial lamb this time. After Tracy had such a good couple of days at the plate, they couldn't cut him today.

Knoxville Nat said...

" ...and you know that Eck is Davie's guy."

Before he was Davey's guy he was Rizzo's guy. Eckstein had been with the big club since after the 2008 season as I recall (replaced Lenny Harris) and prior to that worked in their minor league system as a hitting instructor of some sort. No matter how much DJ publicly supported Eckstein the decision was always Rizzo's to make.

Doc said...

Wasian I refer you to past comments by Davey on the role of a hitting coach.

Also, a really well-written link on hitting coaches was posted a week or so ago, by one one of our NI posters, whose handle I have unfortunately forgotten.

A DC Wonk said...

Amazing how many folks blamed Eck, and now how many are saying it's a scapegoat. (I have no idea how many of those are the same people).

Scooter said...

Schu needs to go NOW.


Indeed, I see that the Nats have been hitless since his promotion.

;-)

Scooter said...

Wonk, I'm glad someone here is paying attention to the FACTS of what's happening. Enough of this lily-livered sugar-coating. Schu is a failure, and therefore

SCHU MUST GO

RaleighNat said...

This moves puts the heat on the players. Sometimes that adds pressure and is counterproductive. I don't think so this time. I think this team needs to feel some heat to refocus.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Good luck to Eck! I am honestly not sure how much this will help but let us see.

MicheleS said...

From the Beats:
Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP
Davey said he offered to step down to prevent Rizzo from firing Rick Eckstein. Rizzo said he didn't want that.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

"Best hitting coach I've ever had."
--Davey Johnson, last week.

There is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY more to this than meets the eye.

I personally think at the major league level, hitting coaches are about as useful as suspenders with a belt. But the symbolism is stark. Pilchard, the poster who said the Nats FO is a "tension convention," had it right.

Does Eck even get to keep that annoying clipboard that he was always clinging to?

MicheleS said...

Amanda Comak‏@acomak
Players stood up & took responsibility for this to a man. Adam LaRoche: "this isn't on him. It's on us."

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Usually, the rule of thumb is the pitching coach goes, then the manager gets fired 7-10 days later.

We're so dysfunctional, we didn't even get that part right.

MicheleS said...

Sunshine/Plichard.. I think the tension convention is in the Clubhouse and not in the FO.

Scooter said...

You're right, Sunshine. The Schu should be on the other foot. Or arm. The pitching arm. You know? You follow me, right?

Maybe they can fire Schu, then hire him as new pitching coach. Perhaps that will slake my thirst. Or perhaps not.

Scooter said...

Seriously, though, they need to Schu that guy out of here, like an annoying fly.

(I'm done, I promise. Have a nice day.)

mick said...

wow...so who fired Eck, Rizzo or the Lerners?

this had to be done to send a message...most posters in here are correct, it will not improve the hitting. that improvement will come in 2014

Sec. 1 D, 10 T, My Sofa said...

On the other hand, Scooter, you're waiting for the other Schu to drop, aren't you?

Tcostant said...

Davey is not in favor of the decision:

https://twitter.com/JimBowdenESPNxm/status/359383984674840577

Rick Schu MLB stats:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schuri01.shtml

Section 222 said...

Ritual sacrifices, whether of rubber chickens or hitting coaches, have as much impact on results on the field as jumping over foul lines, rally squirrels, what jerseys or hats the fans have on, and those silly necklaces the players all wear now.

This is panic. It's taking out the team's failures, and lots of guys have failed this year starting with Rizzo, Davey, and far too many players, on the guy who reportedly worked harder at his job than anyone in the organization, not to mention his young family. (Eckstein's first child was born less than 3 months ago.)

Pretty shameful if you ask me.

paul brandt said...

MicheleS said...
From the Beats:
Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP
Davey said he offered to step down to prevent Rizzo from firing Rick Eckstein. Rizzo said he didn't want that.

if this is accurate, this team is more of a mess than I thought...sounds like Davey wants to go to Bora Bora with his wife in July instead of October...if so, let him and see how Knorr does between now and the end of the year.

Tcostant said...

But on the bright side, if Schu can just work on getting guys to make productive outs with runners on third base with less than two outs, he could be a big plus...

livernonions said...

Having never advanced beyond Little League, I have no clue what hitting coaches do or don't contribute generally or on Davey Johnson-managed teams, specifically, but there does seem to me to be a lack of situational adjustment by batters this year. Whether it's swinging for the fences when a sac fly would score a meaningful run or going up aggressive against pitchers on the ropes and showing no ability to find the strike zone, the team just seems not to be doing the little things that sometimes make a difference. My uninformed guess is that Davey and his anti-small ball approach probably is the biggest contributor rather than a failing on Eckstein's part or the players just tuning Eckstein out. It stinks to see someone who may not be at blame (and is the person involved most likely to actually need a job) get fired, but I agree that if they're ever going to do anything this year, it needed to happen soon enough to let the survivors know that the status quo won't cut it.

natscan reduxit said...

... something about deck chairs and the Titanic springs to mind.

Section 222 said...

Doc/Wasian -- the link to the piece on hitting coaches is in the Glossary -- Row 42

mick said...

sec222...your right and to add...Davey, Rizzo and most importantly the players should blame themselves and hold themselves responsible for Eck's firing.

mick said...

Ah Schu!!!

got a bad cold



Tcostant said...

I always read and hear that Davey is anti-small ball approach; but I was a Mets fan when Davey took over the Mets. In 1984 I remember how he was the master of the hit and run and won a lot of games playing small ball those first few years.

Now maybe he never really wanted to play that way and wanted to be Earl Weaver, but I saw it and Davey was good at it.

mick said...

paul brandt said...
MicheleS said...
From the Beats:
Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP
Davey said he offered to step down to prevent Rizzo from firing Rick Eckstein. Rizzo said he didn't want that.

if this is accurate, this team is more of a mess than I thought...sounds like Davey wants to go to Bora Bora with his wife in July instead of October...if so, let him and see how Knorr does between now and the end of the year.


wow...just read your post..
Davey probably should leave now as well...clean break would be good for all and it would take some pressure off the team because most fans would understand that 2013 just was not the year...this would give Rizzo plenty of time to pick a manager and make some smart moves.

Section 222 said...

Rick Schu, is he the guy who's been working with Tyler Moore, Corey Brown, Eury Perez, and Chris Marrero? I don't think I'll be holding my breath for a breakthrough.

Tcostant said...

If that true, I lost respect for Davey.

He should have said, Eckstein stays or I resign.

David Proctor said...

But it's not Rick Eckstein, Sec 222! Anybody would be better!

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"After Rizzo saw how McGwire handled his players in the key situations over the weekend, not surprised. Nats were out-coached at every level over the weekend."

Ditto that. McGwire was also the hitting coach in the dugout in game 5, and it was he who advised his hitters to layoff Storen's offerings over the outside part of the plate. He could see Storen was beating them with outside sliders that were off the plate, as long as they swung at them.

He had as much to do with Storen's meltdown as anyone did, as Drew got behind in several counts and had to come to the hitters. I wish the Nats had him. I think you pointed out, the other day, that the Dodgers were sitting on JZ's inside fast ball with 2 strikes, thanks to McGwire.

I hope Schu can bring the same insights to the Nats bench.

James Joyce said...

How did Eckstein have this gig through 3 managers and almost 5 full years??

David Proctor said...

Remember when the Royals fired their hitting coach and hired George Brett and everyone applauded them? Their hitters have actually performed WORSE since.

But I guess it sent, like, a message or something dude.

JT said...

I hope the Schu fits.

paul brandt said...

mick, yep AND see whether Knorr is worthy of consideration next year (free audition). If Davey said what he was reported to have said, he was begging to be let go...no shame in that, the guy had a phenomenal career as a player and coach but at age 70, maybe he's just spent, physically and emotionally...he doesn't seem "right" to me.

James Joyce said...

McWire likely has zero to do with this. Rizzo having some revelation as to the great value a pitching coach can bring at this stage in his baseball life and after keeping Eck on board over and over is just not that likely.

mick said...

paul...agreed... Davey is probably conflicted right now on what to do. I hope he does whats best for both himself and the the team

Sam said...

This reminds me of when John Wetteland was fired as the bullpen coach a few years ago. He was a favorite among the players, and a reporter asked manager Frank Robinson how they would react. His response: "Maybe they'll get mad and get somebody out."

So, you know, maybe the hitters will get mad and hit the ball, or something. But I can't see this having much bearing other than a familiar and friendly face no longer being in the locker room.

mick said...

Ray Knight is intriguing, I wonder if he is on a short list of candidates to be the next manager, or do they go outside of the organization?

ExposedinDC said...

Definitely meant as a wake up call ....when you get it handed to you like the last 10 days, someone has to pay.....really thought Davey might get the ax as well, if not for the Nats current status and with this already being his last season Rizzo stopped at just Eckstein....could also mean a guy Rizzo wants is currently under contract with another club and he is playing the waiting game.

mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mick said...

on a funny note, it would be justice for Eck if the Nats were no hit tonight, then the other Schu would drop

lol

livernonions said...

The ONLY upside to Ray Knight as manager would mean not having to listen to Ray Knight call games when FP is on vacation.

JT said...

Bang, Zoom...that's the move...no doubt its playoff fever now, Nats will overtake the Graves before labor day...yeah, right.

mick said...

One, two buckle my Schu...

having too much fun....

JayB said...

Davey is not even with it enough to follow through with his pledge to quit. Why should these guys beleive or even listen to him. He is a weak old man who has lost touch with reality.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Post of the Day goes to:

Section 222 said...

"Rick Schu, is he the guy who's been working with Tyler Moore, Corey Brown, Eury Perez, and Chris Marrero? I don't think I'll be holding my breath for a breakthrough."

Meet the new boss, lot like the old boss.

MicheleS said...

And more..

James Wagner‏@JamesWagnerWP
Mike Rizzo says this was his decision. "A lot of this falls on the players. It's a players' league. And they weren't performing."

David Proctor said...

Tom Verducci just said that last year the Nats were the most aggressive team in baseball (they swung at the most pitches). This year they're dead last. They swing at the fewest pitches. So maybe, just maybe, Davey knows a little something when he says to be more aggressive. Because it worked.

BigCat said...

This is a shot across the bow at Davey. Secretly I think they want Davey to step down. He's an old man who has lost his fastball when it comes to managing. Rizzo is no dummy. He sees whats going on.

As for Eck, this is waaaay over due. All you people who point to last year, truth be told, we hit DESPITE Eck. He is a horrible hitting coach and good riddance.

mick said...

Meet the new boss, lot like the old boss.


wont get fooled again....da dda da dada

MicheleS said...

And from Mark:

Mark Zuckerman‏@ZuckermanCSN
Rizzo: This was a GM's decision. Has great respect for Eckstein, but after 5 years maybe time to hear message from someone else.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

One prediction you can take to the bank out of all this mess:

The 2014 Washington Nationals manager will not be from a list of fellows sitting in the dugout tonight.

Outside the organization (and I use that word ever so loosely) we go.

Any candidates? Are we ballsy enough to go after Joe Girardi? Gee, I hope we don't play the Jim Tracy card. Any votes for Don Baylor?

mick said...

when Ed Sullivan asked John Lennon why they chose the name "Beatles", Lennon said, "no reason we could have called ourselves the Schu's"

hee hee

JT said...

Schu be do be do...strangers in the batting cages..why weren't they swining..schu be do be do.

MicheleS said...

Oh.. and Schu has the Arizona connection.

mick said...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me

interesting about Baylor

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

You can just forget about Ray Knight as manager. He's Davey's best friend. The only thing you can take to the bank out of all this is Rizzo will not be doing Davey any favors when he leaves.

I predict an entirely new coaching staff with the new 2014 manager. In fact, it's already begun.

JT said...

Could Pudge be a 2014 answer?

JD said...


mick,

Not really. Baylor, Knight etc - boring. We need someone fresh not an old retread. Been there done that.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

JT said...

Could Pudge be a 2014 answer?

OOOOOH! A rookie manager with this dysfunctional bunch? I think Dr. Phil might be a better choice.

BigCat said...

Wish they'd clean house and bring in Wally Backman and let him bring his own coaches in here.

JD said...


Girardi,Lecroy,Ausmus,Wallach.

That's my list.

MicheleS said...

Sorry.. No Don Baylor please.. Had too watch some of that and he's not the answer for manager.

In my heart I would love it if Cal would take the job (and thus sticking it to Angelos as well).

Ryne Sandberg would be good (and don't go by the situation in Chicago - the previous GM led Ryno on and Theo didn't want to bring him into the mess that the cubs are in now)

Any other really smart catcher's (besides pudge) out there that would be good Manager Material?

JD said...


Wally Bachman can't get a job in NY with the Mets where he's a legend. No thanks.

JT said...

Catchers do seem to make very good managers. Pudge was one of the best. He has to be considered for an interview at the very least I'd think.

David Proctor said...

People who think this team is dysfunctional must be forgetting the Nats of not too long ago. You never hear locker room spats, everyone gets along, everyone stays out of trouble. You think this is dysfunctional? You don't remember, was it Lastings Milledge (I can'tr remember who it was) who showed up late for Opening Day. Or who did weed constantly. Or how about Nyjer Morgan attacking people?

This team is a lot of things, but it is hardly dysfunctional.

JD said...

MichelleS,

There's your smart catcher.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/23/brad-ausmus-was-outstanding-in-red-sox-interview/

JT said...

No doubt Michelle S, Ausmus is managerial material.

MicheleS said...

David Proctor.. I hope you didn't infer my tenstion comment as dysfunctional. I don't think they are dysfunctional, i think there is some tension there and that there must be stuff going on that we don't here about.

And JD.. Thanks for that.. Ausmus could be a good find.

David Proctor said...

Not you Michele S, Sunshine Bob repeatedly refers to the team as dysfunctional. That's silly. There may be tension, but it's not dysfunctional.

MicheleS said...

AND BOOM!
Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP
Worth noting: Bryce Harper has a good relationship with Rick Schu. The first coached he worked with after getting drafted

BigCat said...

JD....Wally is managing AAA for the Mets. 2years ago he was managing A ball for them. Wally would win here

Secret wasian man said...

They don't go at each other David be ause they don't care. They have expected all season for someone to come up,and hand them the trophy. Just because of what happened last year. THat seems a bit dysfunctional to me.

livernonions said...

We've got a baseball team in our town. They've got a really solid core of young players. We've got a solid GM who for the most part was praised before the season for the team he assembled and who has carried the laboring oar in the rebuilding of the organization. We've got owners who may be a bit stubborn at times, but who've got money and lots of it and a willingness to part with it (albeit a bit judiciously). So this year is not going to plan. That's life and that's baseball. We don't have to like it, but the anger running through a lot of the comments seems uncalled for.

Secret wasian man said...

Ray night manager. The perfect choice.

JT said...

As much as I like Davey, he has become so predictable in every move he makes. If he weren't retiring at years end the trigger might have already been pulled on him. I truly hope the worm turns....somehow.

MicheleS said...

SWM.. calling BS on "They Don't Care" comment and I don't think ehe players ever thought they would have the trophy handed to them. They actually played Game 5 last year. They know you don't get the trophy handed to you.

BigCat said...

Check out Wally on youtube when he managed the independent Georgia Peanuts a few years ago. He brings it every day

A DC Wonk said...

Tcostant said...

If that true, I lost respect for Davey.

He should have said, Eckstein stays or I resign.


Why? How does it help the Nats to lose their manager in the middle of July?

Tcostant said...

I always read and hear that Davey is anti-small ball approach; but I was a Mets fan when Davey took over the Mets. In 1984 I remember how he was the master of the hit and run and won a lot of games playing small ball those first few years.

Bingo!

Davey had always adjusted his strategies to fit the teams he had. Small ball when he didn't have teams with big bats. Lots of stolen bases when he had speed (see, e.g., the Reds). Etc.

Secret wasian man said...

Uncalled for anger? Power hitter let go for a guy who,can't hit doesn't hustle and doesn't care? Bullpen completely ripped to,shreds? 70 games to many of a,2nd baseman who even stinks in triple a? No better then 28 th in the league in almost all hitting categories. Close to the bottom of the league in defense if not the bottom? All this after a season of 98 wins and one young pitcher away from the NLDS. Your right no need for ANGER!!!!!!! Whew I feel better. Lets go nats

A DC Wonk said...

David Proctor said...

Tom Verducci just said that last year the Nats were the most aggressive team in baseball (they swung at the most pitches). This year they're dead last. They swing at the fewest pitches. So maybe, just maybe, Davey knows a little something when he says to be more aggressive. Because it worked.

Nice catch there.

Davey knows more baseball in his pinky than probably any of us knows.

MicheleS said...

Amanda Comak‏@acomak
Players stood up & took responsibility for this to a man. Adam LaRoche: "this isn't on him. It's on us."


Phooey. What do the players know?

(kidding)

A DC Wonk said...

BigCat said...

This is a shot across the bow at Davey. Secretly I think they want Davey to step down. He's an old man who...


If I recall correctly, you were against Davey from day one.

Let's just say: I respectfully disagree.

Secret wasian man said...

Go ahead and call bs on they don't care. A guy slowing down running to second is a guy who does not care.

NatsLady said...

MLB Injury News ‏@MLBInjuryNews 1h
Elbow strain shelves San Diego's Jason Marquis, leaves future in doubt: Is this the end of the Jason Marq... http://bit.ly/1bGCOOw #MLB

Secret wasian man said...

Oh I forgot, can't hold runners on first, just like last year, and everybody steals.

Enjoy the game everybody.

livernonions said...

Secret wasian man,

I read your posts -- I read all the posts -- but don't include you when I refer generally to the posters on this site. I consider you to be like the blog version of Clint -- an unserious sideshow that one must sometimes witness in order to see what one has come to see.

MicheleS said...

Here is the link to some player comments from the MLB Blogs

Player Quotes

phil dunton said...

"Earlier this month, Johnson took things a step further regarding Ecktein, declaring "if you fired him, you might as well fire me."

Well, what is Rizzo waiting for---show Davey the door too! I have been singing the Fire Rick Eckstein tune for at least three years. Why is Rizzo so paralyzed when it comes to decisions that need to be made.

Muddy said...

Interesting question about people raise about the value of hitting coaches in MLB. The Nats aren't hitting. They weren't a great hitting team last year but not terrible, either, until
September when they struggled to score. They managed 2 wins against the Card in the NLDS with good pitching. In game 5, which I attended, they scored 6 fast runs and eventually 7 in all but ... . Oy. In any case, back to the value of the hitting coash. I dunno but I think of Charlie Lau. He wasn't a great hitter in the majors, maybe like Schu. But after his playing career ended, Lau became a hitting coach for the Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. A quick look at Wikipedia shows: "Contrary to popular belief, Lau did not emphasize releasing the top hand after making contact with the pitch and following through with only the lower hand on the bat. He did, however, suggest this measure to hitters who—for whatever reason—could not fully extend their arms during their swings.

"Lau developed a list of "Absolutes" about hitting, which included:

"A balanced, workable stance
Rhythm and movement in the stance (as opposed to standing still)
A good weight shift from a firm rigid backside to a firm rigid frontside
Striding with the front toe closed
Having the bat in the launching position as soon as the front foot touches down
Making the stride a positive, aggressive motion toward the pitcher
A tension-free swing
Hitting through the ball
Hitting the ball where it is pitched, rather than trying to direct it.

"Lau served as batting coach for the Royals from 1971 to 1978 (with the exception of the early part of the 1975 season when he was the team's minor league hitting coach after his temporary ouster from the Royals' staff by then-skipper Jack McKeon. He worked with Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson and George Brett. After becoming the Chicago White Sox' hitting instructor, his pupils included Greg Luzinski, Carlton Fisk, Steve Kemp, Harold Baines and Ron Kittle."

Maybe MLBers don't need hitting coaches ... but I doubt it.

Eck was not effective. Period. He did't try to blame anybody else. His career will continue. Good luck to him.

Secret wasian man said...

Guess I'm not getting a Christmas card from you this year. Man that hurts.

MicheleS said...

WOW! MLB Just suspended Braun for the rest of the season in Connection with BioGenesis

livernonions said...

I'm sorry to have hurt your feelings. If it makes you feel any better, please know that I'm Hindu, so would not send you a Christmas card under any set of circumstances.

MicheleS said...

And Braun is NOT fighting the suspension

phil dunton said...

I doubt this came from Rizzo. Maybe the passive Lerners have finally had enough under performance. They see all the hard earned attendance gains this year going right down the tubes. They may be hoping Davey wll follow "the best hitting coach ever" right out the door.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Off topic, but sorta on: Braun must be the dumbest player in baseball, and that's saying something. He gets off on a FedEx-type technicality last year, chain of custody BS, and then goes and visits Biogenysis to get filled in the offseason.

There's dumb, there's dumber and, from there if you look way out on the horizon, there's Ryan Braun.

A-Rod has got to be the next domino to fall.

Nattering Nat said...

It's a shame (for me, not for you), but I come to this site for comic relief nowadays. As if some of you have all the answers and have been preaching the same tune for years, and you are angry all the time. I frankly don't understand why you even bother to watch or even follow the Nats, given the frustration I read. I rarely post here any more, you all don't miss it, so it doesn't matter, but I just felt I would say this one time that you are such a negative force--not all of you, but the most frequent posters--that I read other sites most to the time now.

Except, Mark, I do read your articles, they continue to be excellent. I just skip the comments most of the time, unless I want a good chuckle. And I am a diehard Nats fan. Adieu.

BigCat said...

Maybe this will stir Davey up a little. Light a fire under him. Maybe even get him to raise his voice a little

Get Your Re(n)d On said...

Section222, Eck still gets paid for this season and like the rest of the coaching staff he's on a one year contract. So yes, Rizzo just shamefully destroyed his life. Now he'll have to change some diapers.

natsfan1a said...

Then there was the story of how he donated a kidney to his brother. Eck seems to be a standup guy and I wish him well.

222 said...

(Eckstein's first child was born less than 3 months ago.)

natsfan1a said...

Interesting about Braun. I seem to recall a commenter here defending him and taking some of us to task for "jumping to conclusions" upon seeing our reactions to the initial news of Braun's failed test back in the day. Just shows to go you, you never know...

VP81955 said...

Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP
Davey said he offered to step down to prevent Rizzo from firing Rick Eckstein. Rizzo said he didn't want that.


The Nats know that if Davey leaves before the end of the seaaon -- whether he left on his own volition or was pushed -- Boz would give them holy hell. He still wields plenty of influence in this town, and he still loves his Earl Weaver-era Orioles. Note this from his chat today, when someone asked him about Cal Ripken:

Every team that doesn't go to the World Series this year should offer Cal a job as its manager for next season. Including the Nats. He won't take it, I assume.

Uh. Boz, remember how well Mike Schmidt worked out when he tried managing in Clearwater?

natsfan1a said...

On second thought, that particular tongue-lashing may have related to Melky Cabrera. I need a scorecard to keep the cheaters straight. Heh.

natsfan1a said...

Interesting about Braun. I seem to recall a commenter here defending him and taking some of us to task for "jumping to conclusions" upon seeing our reactions to the initial news of Braun's failed test back in the day. Just shows to go you, you never know...
July 22, 2013 7:31 PM

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