Recent coaching staff changes for the Nationals were centered around the opportunity for Davey Martinez to now hire who he wants. Outgoing coaches lamented, but understood, the idea they were never Martinez’s “guy” when hired. So, he decided to make changes, exchanging what was handed to him when first brought on in 2017 in favor of familiarity in 2020.
The process took its first significant step Monday when the Nationals announced Jim Hickey will take over as the new pitching coach. He worked with Martinez in Tampa Bay from 2008-2014. The length of Hickey’s contract was not announced.
“I am very excited to add Jim to our coaching staff and organization as a whole,” Martinez said in a statement. “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.”
Hickey spent the last two seasons as a special assistant for player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2021 season will be Hickey’s 38th season in professional baseball and his 16th as a Major League pitching coach. He’s worked for the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay, and Chicago Cubs.
Hickey replaces Paul Menhart, who did not have his contract renewed. Menhart replaced the fired Derek Lilliquist in May of 2019.
Bench coach/third base coach Chip Hale and hitting coach Kevin Long also were not brought back. Bench coach Tim Bogar, first base coach Bob Henley and bullpen coach Henry Blanco were the only staff retained beyond this season after the Nationals finished tied for last place in the National League East Division.