Matt Williams has decided to keep all of the current Nats coaches save one — the bullpen coach. Overall that’s some pretty notable continuity for a new manager. And probably makes a lot of sense given that Davey Johnson’s departure wasn’t a firing so much as it was just a parting of ways/retirement.
But Williams is adding one thing. A smart thing:
Next season, the Nationals will have a seventh coach on staff, Mark Weidemaier, formerly an advance scout and a special assistant in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office, to serve as an advance coach focused on defensive alignments. Weidemaier will be in uniform and in the dugout, but will be tasked with working with the Nationals other advance scouts and video scouts and filter the information down to the coaching staff.
Defense is where all the fun is these days. And after watching all manner of increasingly crazy shifts these past few seasons — and watching them be pretty darn effective — it’s not at all surprising to see a team take it one step further.
The Reds announced on Wednesday evening that the club acquired starter Tanner Roark from the Nationals in exchange for pitcher Tanner Rainey.
Roark, 32, is entering his third of three years of arbitration eligibility, so this is essentially a rental for the Reds. This past season, Roark posted a 4.34 ERA with 146 strikeouts and 50 walks over 180 1/3 innings. He had a career year in 2016, finishing with a 2.83 ERA, but hasn’t been able to replicate it in the two years since.
Rainey, 25, accrued just seven innings in the majors last season, yielding 19 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 12 walks with seven strikeouts. He spent most of his year with Triple-A Louisville where his numbers were much better: he had a 2.65 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks in 51 innings of relief.
The Reds have been in the mix in a lot of rumors during the winter meetings, so it’s not a surprise to see them make a splash. The club is trying to improve on last year’s dismal 67-95 finish.