Randy St. Claire Fired By Nationals

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, June 02, 2009 | , , , , , | 0 comments »

Though no press release has been issued (--ed. now it has. see bottom for the statement) by the team at this point, pitching coach Randy St. Claire was relieved of his duties Monday night, according to Nats Journal.

St. Claire was the longest-tenured Nationals coach, reaching back to its days as the Montreal Expos.

"That's life," St. Claire told Nats Journal. "I've been in this game for 31 years. I've been fired before. But it's a tough one... I would have liked to be around when the organization takes off."

"The pitching isn't performing up to where it needs to be to win, and I think a lot of factors go into it, but I guess I'm easier to replace than 12 guys," he said. "Easier to replace and cheaper to replace. But that's the game. When the team doesn't perform, they're bound to make changes."

The thing is, the Nats did change most of the pitching staff over the last two months. And they've had a parade of pitchers in here the last three years. Other than Odalis Perez, can anyone remember any of them exceeding expectations?

I don't want to be (overly) critical of a guy that was just shown the door, since I've been defending the manager all season as not having the right parts to be fairly judged. St. Claire clearly had the reputation as a good pitching coach.

It's just tough to justify his reputation based on the past three seasons, as the staff has progressively gotten worse, to the point te bullpen is now: full of re-tread veterans because the kids that management hoped would be ready to be big leaguers turned out to be the "not ready for prime time players".

Syracuse pitching coach Steve McCatty replaces St. Claire. Hard to envision for how long though.

One has to wonder how much time this buys Manny Acta. Is it the homestand? All-star break? Or do they just let him twist all summer as a lame duck and wipe the slate clean on Labor Day? I'll continue to defend Acta, because I think he's going to be a good manager, once he has a complete team to field, and not a "beer league softball team", as resident expert Rob Dibble said the other day.

Photo (c) C. Nichols, 2009. All rights reserved.

The Washington Nationals today relieved Randy St. Claire of his duties and named Steve McCatty pitching coach. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

McCatty joins Manny Acta’s staff after serving the first two months of the season as pitching coach with the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League. McCatty was in his fourth season as the Nationals’ Triple-A pitching coach.

McCatty joins the Nationals with pre-existing individual relationships and working knowledge of ten Nationals pitchers: Jason Bergmann, Jesus Colome, Joel Hanrahan, John Lannan, Mike MacDougal, Shairon Martis, Craig Stammen, Ron Villone, Kip Wells and Jordan Zimmermann. He also worked closely with the remainder of the Nationals’ pitching staff during Spring Training.

The 55 year-old McCatty boasts an impressive resume, which includes 14 seasons as a pitching coach, a nine-year big league career and three seasons of broadcasting.

He began his coaching career with a seven-year stint with Detroit that culminated upon being appointed Tigers pitching coach in 2002. During that ‘02 season, he worked with a young staff that included Jeff Weaver and Mike Maroth and finished ranked favorably with 11 complete games (third in AL), 463 walks (fifth-fewest in AL) and 163 home runs (fifth-fewest in AL).

After a three-year term (2003-05) as pitching coach for Triple-A Ottawa in the Baltimore Orioles organization, McCatty joined the Nationals as a member of the coaching staff at Triple-A New Orleans in 2006. His first staff of Nationals farmhands led the Pacific Coast League with 1,114 strikeouts and registered the 3rd-best ERA (3.84) in the 16-team PCL.

McCatty went 63-63 with five saves and a 3.99 ERA in 221 games (161 starts) during a nine-year (1977-85) career with Oakland. He tallied three double-digit win seasons, including his finest campaign in 1981, when he finished 14-7 with a 2.33 ERA and 16 complete games in 22 starts.

In 1981, his 14 wins tied for the big league lead, and his .211 batting average against paced all American League starting pitchers. He also ranked second in the AL in both ERA and complete games. For his efforts, McCatty finished second in the 1981 AL Cy Young Award voting behind only future Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers of the Brewers.

At the conclusion of his pitching days, from 1989-91, McCatty spent two seasons broadcasting Oakland A’s games and one season as a baseball announcer for ESPN.

St. Claire was named Nationals’ pitching coach in December 2002. He was the NL East’s longest-tenured pitching coach.