A week after dismissing the entire coaching staff along with Manager Matt Williams, Randy Knorr, Bobby Henley and Matt LeCroy will remain with the organization in new roles. General Manager Mike Rizzo said last week that the Nationals had offered positions to dismissed coaches and the team announced the new titles on Monday.
Knorr, the Nationals bench coach for the past four years who is still interested in the managerial vacancy, will become the senior assistant to Rizzo for player development. Henley, formerly the third base coach, will become the senior adviser for player development. This allows both coaches, former longtime Nationals minor league managers and instructors, to return to their deep roots within the system.
Knorr will be in uniform in the minor leagues and described the position, which was Rizzo’s idea, as a bench coach across the entire system. “I get to hang out in the minor leagues and make sure what we continue doing what we’ve established in the minor leagues keeps going,” he said. He will be based out of Tampa and roam across all the seven affiliates.
This doesn’t preclude Knorr, who wants to manage in the major leagues, or the other coaches from pursuing more attractive jobs should they arise. After he was fired as bench coach, Knorr said he wanted to interview for the Nationals managerial vacancy and believes he is qualified to fill it based on his long connections with the players. Rizzo didn’t rule out Knorr as a candidate last week. But the Nationals have yet to schedule an interview with Knorr.
LeCroy, a longtime Nationals minor league coach, will return to Class AA Harrisburg as manager, the same position he held for two years before being promoted to big league bullpen coach before the 2014 season. In order to make room for LeCroy, Harrisburg Manager Brian Daubach was moved to Class AAA Syracuse hitting coach.
It is unclear if any of the other dismissed Nationals coaches were offered positions: hitting coach Rick Schu, pitching coach Steve McCatty, first base coach (and outfield/baserunning coach) Tony Tarasco and defensive coordinator/advance coach Mark Weidemaier. Rizzo plans to recommend some, such as Schu, to the new manager.