Absurdity has reached a new level.
On Monday night the Washington Nationals fired pitching coach Randy St. Claire and promoted Triple-A pitching coach Steve McCatty to replace him.
St. Claire was the longest tenured coach with the Nationals as he had been with the organization for the last seven years. Nats management attributed the firing to the Nationals having the worst pitching staff in the Major Leagues.
This of course is an undeniable truth, the Nationals have a league worst 5.69 ERA. They’ve allowed more runs than anyone else with 308 and the bullpen has 12 blown saves.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said.
But do they? Do the numbers also say that St. Claire was put in a position to fail with a bunch of nobody’s or wash ups in a bullpen without any experience? Do the numbers tell the tale of a pitching coach who was given a rotation that started the season with two rookies, and a perennial failure in Daniel Cabrera?
No, I think the numbers hide those failures, the very failures of yours truly Mr. Rizzo.
The fact is firing St. Claire is probably the worst move the front office could have made. Lets forget the fact that he was the mastermind behind the overachieving Nationals pitching staff of 2005-2007, and that he crafted John Lannan’s career. The bottom line is the Nationals at this point have only two goals for 2009:
1. Not have the worst record ever
2. Develop Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, Shairon Martis, and Craig Stammen as they are the Nationals best and most fragile assets, and really the only hope for the future.
How dare the front office strip away the teaching and guiding voice of Jordan Zimmermann and the rookie crew?! Developing them is so crucial to the future of this club and bringing in a brand new, interim pitching coach will only disrupt their development.
St. Claire had a proven track record of getting the most out of pitchers, and he finally had four young ones with supreme talent to mold into future stars. Instead they will now spend 2009 adjusting instead of growing.
Someone clearly had to get the axe, it just wasn’t Randy St. Claire.