The loss of third base coach Trent Jewett this past week is just another example of the problem that is going to keep the Washington Nationals from reaching a World Series and winning it all.
Looking back on baseball’s history, most teams that find success for many years have at a time have two key things in common: they have a good roster with plenty of talent spread across the diamond and they have a coaching staff that never breaks apart. When the St. Louis Cardinals ruled the land, they had Tony LaRussa and his staff for many years. Up north, the Detroit Tigers have found recent success because they had a good team and Jim Leyland kept his staff together.
As outlined by CSN Washington‘s Mark Zuckerman, Washington has seen a plethora of managers and coaches come through the franchise. On the field, they’ve been building a long-standing and winning baseball team. In the dugout, they’ve become a stepping-stone for coaches to grow and move on to bigger and better things.
Since the organization moved to Washington in 2005, they’ve had a whopping five bench coaches, five hitting coaches, six bullpen coaches and seven first base coaches. When they hire their new third base coach in the coming days, that person will be the seventh third base coach. Including Matt Williams, Washington has had six managers since moving to D.C.
This can become a huge problem for an organization looking to take the next step. Ever since the franchise moved the nation’s capitol, general manager Mike Rizzo has been putting together a team of winning baseball players. Well, he’s finally got the players, now he needs to bring in the coaches. The nice thing is that Williams is going to stick with as many current Nats coaches as he can. Losing Jewett isn’t good, but keeping Steve McCatty and Randy Knorr among others will help them achieve their goals.
For the players, it can make life difficult. Just when you begin to get used to one person’s style of managing or coaching, that person either gets fired or accepts a position elsewhere and you’ve got to start fresh with a new face. That also increases the chances of bringing in someone they won’t like and that will be everybody miserable.
If there’s one thing that Washington needs to focus on, it’s continuity within the coaching staff. The players will still be here because Washington has deep enough pockets to make that happen. Focusing on keeping the coaching staff intact year in and year out could likely turnout to be the key to get them deep into the playoffs and possibly a World Series championship.