Coaching staff on the immediate agenda.
There’s a local Internet report tonight that Jon Daniels and Ron Washington will meet in Arlington tomorrow to discuss the makeup of Washington’s coaching staff, with the possibility of changes being announced right away. The story suggests that bullpen coach Jim Colborn will likely relinquish the position to return to fulltime Pacific Rim scouting duties, and that of the remaining coaches, Matt Walbeck could be the most likely to be replaced, as “he and Washington had a difficult time gelling this season,” according to the story.
The fact that Perry Hill’s name has resurfaced this week calls Art Howe’s job security into question, as Hill’s forte is infield defense, a responsibility Howe was charged with in addition to serving as Washington’s bench coach.
One conceivable scenario (and this is purely my own speculation, nothing that was in print) is that Hill and Brad Fischer, a longtime Washington favorite from their days together in Oakland, could be brought in to replace Howe and Walbeck, if those two are in fact not renewed. Neither Hill nor Fischer, as far as I know, however, has third base coaching in his background — both have served as first base coaches in the big leagues, and Fischer (currently managing a Class A team in Pittsburgh’s system) has also been a bullpen coach. If Fischer is brought in as Washington’s bench coach, it would remain to be seen who would take over at third — whether Hill would be entrusted with the job, or perhaps Gary Pettis could be asked to slide across the diamond, with Hill taking over at first. Pettis is expected back, along with Rudy Jaramillo, the only coach under contract already for 2009.
Andy Hawkins seems to have support from both Daniels and Washington — though Nolan Ryan will surely have input on the pitching coach assignment, if not the entire staff — and I suppose it’s possible that he should be considered a candidate not only to return as pitching coach but also to shift to bullpen coach instead in certain circumstances.
In any event, we should get some clarity on all of this soon.