Coaching/Organizational Notes: Padres, Williams, Nationals, Pirates

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The Padres still have a few vacancies to fill on manager Bob Melvin’s coaching staff, including both base coaching positions. As part of his latest reader mailbag, Dennis Lin of the Athletic writes that San Diego has been in contact with Matt Williams about the possibility of serving as third base coach. As Lin points out, the 56-year-old Williams spent the 2018-19 seasons on the A’s staff as third base coach during Melvin’s time as Oakland skipper.

Of course, Williams is better known for his 17-year big league playing career and two seasons as Nationals’ manager. A five-time All-Star as a player, Williams took over the Washington dugout in 2014. He was named the National League’s Manager of the Year in his first season at the helm, a year in which the club went 96-66 to claim the NL East title. Yet the Nats disappointed the following season, and Williams was dismissed and replaced with Dusty Baker after the 2015 campaign. Most recently, he spent the 2020-21 campaigns managing the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization. Williams and the Tigers mutually agreed to part ways at the end of this past season.

A couple more staffing notes around the game:

  • The Nationals are planning to expand their scouting, player development and minor league coaching staffs, writes Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. As Dougherty explores, Washington has had one of the smaller player development groups around the league in recent seasons. General manager Mike Rizzo and player development director De Jon Watson each recently spoke with Dougherty about the changes, which will see the Nats attempt to streamline their use of video and data in player development. Not coincidentally, the increased emphasis on the minor leagues comes a few months after the club kicked off an organizational reboot at the July 30 trade deadline. Barring changes to the service time structure, the Nationals will control Juan Soto for three more seasons via arbitration. Soto’s potential post-2024 free agency only adds to the urgency for Washington to develop ancillary contributors around their superstar outfielder.
  • The Pirates are also embracing a philosophical change on the farm, as Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chronicles adjustments to the club’s pitching development processes. The goal, coordinator of pitching development Josh Hopper says, is to more effectively tailor training regimens to individual hurlers as opposed to dictating a universal, top-down approach throughout the organization. Prospects like Tahnaj Thomas and Quinn Priester tell Mackey they’re excited about the new direction, with both righties implying the previous approach was not as personalized. Mackey writes that the Bucs have become increasingly willing to embrace different drills as certain pitchers prioritize development of velocity, command, biomechanics efficiency, etc. Mackey chronicles numerous training methods used by different prospects in a piece that’s worth a full read for Pirates’ fans.

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