The reconstruction of the Nationals’ coaching staff continued Wednesday as the team announced an agreement with well-respected veteran Mike Maddux to become the next pitching coach. Maddux served as pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers for six seasons and the Rangers for seven.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the Nationals negotiated the deal with Maddux last week, when Bud Black was still headed to Washington to take the managerial job, though the team’s official announcement was careful to clarify that the sides came to terms Tuesday night. Nightengale later clarified his story to match the team timeline, in which Maddux was hired shortly after Baker. Teams usually allow a new manager to select his own coaching staff. Maddux and new manager Dusty Baker have never served on a major league staff together.
According to a person familiar with the situation, Maddux agreed to a two-year deal, as first reported by Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. The Nationals, conservative and generally unwilling to give long-term deals to managers, normally sign coaches to one-year deals.
Texas General Manager Jon Daniels said the team offered Maddux a new contract while also giving him a window in which to negotiate with other teams, but when his contract expired Saturday, the sides parted ways. MLB.com was first to report the Nationals were likely to hire Maddux.
Maddux, 54, is the older brother of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who also left the Rangers last week after serving as a special assistant to Daniels. Mike pitched parts of 15 seasons with nine teams, and finished his career with a 39-37 record and 4.05 ERA.
Since Maddux took over the Rangers’ pitching staff in 2009, Texas starters won 436 games, tied for fifth-most in baseball. The Rangers made the playoffs in four of his seven seasons and won two pennants. Rangers relievers accumulated the sixth-most Wins Above Replacement (27.0) of any bullpen.
Known as one of the more creative and insightful pitching minds around, Maddux joins Baker as the Nationals’ second high-profile coaching hire in as many days. Baker, 66, earned a reputation for running young pitchers into the ground — though statistics show he has adapted his approach over the years, so that knock on the veteran may be unjustified.
Nevertheless, the Nationals backed up their organizational premium on pitching with the hire, bringing a credible, respected voice to oversee the growth of young talents such as Joe Ross, Lucas Giolito and the young arms the Nationals believe can build their bullpen down the road. Maddux should also mix well with always-analyzing Max Scherzer, and will provide a new voice for Stephen Strasburg, who battled injuries before showing prodigious dominance at the end of this season.
Steve McCatty had served as pitching coach for the entire big league careers of most homegrown Nationals, from 2009 until he was let go last month along with former manager Matt Williams.