Tony Beasley, who has managed Class AAA Syracuse for the past two seasons, said he won’t return in that capacity next season and will instead become a minor league field coordinator, the position left vacant after Bobby Henley’s promotion to Nationals third base coach. Beasley posted a 136-152 in his two seasons at the helm of the Nationals highest minor league team, including a 66-78 record in 2013.
Beasley, 46, a former big league third base coach for the Nationals in 2006 and later with the Pittsburgh Pirates, wanted to be considered for the Nationals’ third base coaching vacancy. But after the position was given to Henley, Beasley had a conversation with farm director Doug Harris, recently promoted to assistant general manager. Harris told Beasley that he felt the field coordinator position fit his skills and left the decision up to him whether to take it or continue managing. Beasley said he chose the new opportunity.
“I felt like it’s something interesting,” Beasley said. “I think I can do well in this position. It kinda broadens my resume as far as another thing I’ve done in baseball. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve managed so it’s not like I’m stale in that. This is a new challenge.”
Beasley, a former minor league infielder in the Baltimore and Pittsburgh systems, managed five seasons in the Pirates minor leagues. He was a minor league infield coordinator for the Pirates for one season in 2007 and then the third base coach until 2010. He managed Class AA Harrisburg in 2011 and guided them to the playoffs before joining Syracuse.
Now, Beasley will rove across the Nationals minor league working with a different team every four or five days, and he will work closely with infield coordinator Jeff Garber. “I think my skill set — communication and motivation — I think works and (Harris) thinks I have a unique way of handling things,” Beasley said.
Beasley, a Virginia native, also said he will have the scheduling flexibility to see his son, Tony Jr., who plays baseball at Louisburg College in North Carolina, which he hasn’t been able to do much of in the past.
Beasley managed Syracuse for two seasons while his two predecessors managed only one season each. Trent Jewett, who left the Nationals to become the Seattle Mariners bench coach, managed in 2010 and Randy Knorr, the Nationals’ bench coach, managed in 2011. Only Jewett posted a winning record.
Beasley said his goals are still to manage or coach in the big leagues again one day. He was interested in the Nationals’ third base coaching vacancy. “I absolutely was,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But I respect the decisions that were made.”
Syracuse pitching coach Greg Booker won’t return to the Nationals and hitting coach Troy Gingrich will shift to minor league hitting coordinator. The changes were first reported by the Post-Standard in Syracuse.
A logical replacement for Beasley would be the Class AA Harrisburg manager, but Matt LeCroy was promoted and will serve as the Nationals bullpen coach in 2014 under Manager Matt Williams. A replacement could come from outside the organization. Up-and-coming coaches in the system — Brian Daubach, Class A Potomac manager last season, and Tripp Keister, Class A Hagerstown manager — are lower in the minor leagues. The Nationals are expected to announce the minor league coaching staffs at a later date.