Diamondbacks part ways with coaches Nagy, Sax
OCT 07, 2013 9:48p ET
The D-backs will have their third first-base coach in as many seasons in 2014 after announcing Tuesday that Sax was relieved of his duties after one season. Nagy's departure was first reported Monday night.
The D-backs officially announced that Gibson will return for his fifth season as manager, and also said that bench coach Alan Trammell, hitting coach Don Baylor, third base coach Matt Williams, bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock and assistant hitting coach Turner Ward have been invited to return, although it is possible that roles could shift and a new bench coach could be brought in.
"Everything is a fluid situation," general manager Kevin Towers said. "There could be some slight adjustments to particular roles."
All coaching contracts are up at the end of October. While all the remaining coaches are expected to return, Towers said things could change during negotiations if, for example, someone feels uncomfortable with a different role.
Sax, who also handled the running game, had been in private business as a motivational speaker after retiring from pro baseball in 1995 before making his coaching debut at any level on on manager Kirk Gibson's staff this season. The D-backs interviewed former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Vince Coleman for the first-base vacancy last winter before hiring Sax.
Nagy joined manager Gibson's staff in 2011, when Ian Kennedy went a career-best 21-4 and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young race to help lead the D-backs to the NL West title at 94-68. The staff had a 3.90 ERA and a league-high 58 saves, with newcomers J.J. Putz and David Hernandez carrying most of the late load.
"We're a performance-oriented game. We thought we needed a change. Maybe a different voice," Towers said. "Not to put everything on Charles and Steve for being .500, but we're not happy with the results."
Another opening appears possible, though not of the D-backs' choosing. Williams, who was a finalist for the Colorado Rockies' managerial job last winter, is believed to be a top candidate for the Washington managerial vacancy, as is Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr. Washington had not asked the D-backs' permission to speak to Williams as of Monday, according to the Washington Post.
"It's an area I excelled in as a player," Gibson said of base running. "I've had two base-running coaches in two years. Maybe I haven't helped those guys enough. It's about being aware and alert about what things are there and when to act. Simply, you have to be alert at all times and you have to act when things are available. You can't let them slip away."
It did not help the running game that expected leadoff hitter Adam Eaton, the most likely candidate on the roster to steal bases, missed the first three months of the season with an elbow injury. Eaton, who had 46 stolen bases at three levels in 2012, had five stolen bases in 66 games.
Paul Goldschmidt led the D-backs with 15 stolen bases, and A.J. Pollock had 12. Gerardo Parra had a career-high 10 steals, but he also was thrown out 10 times. Martin Prado was 3 for 8 on stolen-base attempts, and Aaron Hill was 1 for 5.
In Nagy's final two seasons, the D-backs' team ERA was almost exactly what it was in his first year, 3.93 in 2012 and 3.92 this season. But Kennedy never found the form he had in 2011 and was traded to the Padres on July 31 and the bullpen had a major-league-high 29 blown saves this season, when Putz had two stints on the disabled list.
Patrick Corbin led the staff with 14 victories this season. injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill played a part in limiting the D-backs to 87 quality starts, tied with the Padres for ninth in the National League.