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Knorr named new bench coach

Nov 18, 2011, 12:44 AM EDT

The Nationals stayed in-house in selecting their new bench coach, tonight naming Randy Knorr to the position as manager Davey Johnson’s right-hand man.

Knorr, 43, has held a variety of coaching roles in the Nationals organization over the last seven seasons, including managerial stints at low-Class A Savannah, high-Class A Potomac, Class AA Harrisburg and, most recently, Class AAA Syracuse. He also served as the Nationals’ bullpen coach for the second half of the 2006 season and for all of the 2009 season.

The former big-league catcher, who spent 19 seasons with five organizations, knows the Nationals’ system well and has coached 75 percent of the players on the team’s current 40-man roster.

In seeking a new bench coach to replace Pat Corrales, who at age 70 will remain with the Nationals in an advisory role, general manager Mike Rizzo said he preferred to hire someone who could some day
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  1. whatsanattau - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Rizzo continues to impress by developing AND following a long term plan. And, that sort of thing only happens when the ownership supports it. Congrats to Randy.

  2. Theophilus - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Article on Red Sox pointed out folly of looking for someone w/ major league managerial experience. I.e., the only avails are non-starters, with the possible exception of Bobby Valentine, who makes sure his name gets mentioned for every vacancy. And who in their right mind wants Valentine? So, building a managerial "bench," so to speak, makes a ton of sense, whether you have a septuagenerian (nearly) manager like Johnson or someone younger who's likely to get burned out or tuned out (eventually) by the inmates in the clubhouse. I don't know if the heir apparent is Knorr or Porter but, right now, I wouldn't be upset either way it turned out.

  3. ehay2k - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    I know a lot of folks pick on Rizzo for trades they think are bad, signings he missed, etc. But name ONE MLB GM who is right all the time? So, we have to look at his body of work, not nitpick over each deal. Some Anonymous poster said Pudge was a bad signing. Pretty easy to argue the opposite. Arguing about Werth is silly, since it has been one year and he had two managers and two hitting coaches (Stairs and Eckstein). I would LOVE to see the Nats make the playoffs. But that is not why I am a STH or why I go to games. I go because I have a better than even chance to see my Nats win at home, and they play hard, even on days they are not playing well. With the team the Nats fielded at the end of this year, I believe they could contend for a Wild Card spot. Remember, we beat the Braves, and might have swept them, when they were playing for their lives. Playing GM here, which seems to be some sort of blog poster's right, the Nats still need another SP, who may already be on the team (Detwiler, Millone, Peacock, Solis), but nothing else requires fresh meat, just slight improvement. If Desi can keep hitting leadoff like he did at he end of the year, I can live with that. We could use some good utility guys for depth. Bullpen is pretty solid and it's easy to address any needs there with existing arms.Ankiel can play CF, and bat eighth. Ramos is too good to bat there anyway. Any acquisitions to help us in the outfield shouldn't hamper our near-term plans to bring up Harper, so no multi year deals for short-timers .Other than that, I'm happy. I even like Davey now that I see he can manage the pitching staff. :-) He does seem to still be able to develop talent, a skill that Riggleman clearly lacked to the same degree.

  4. gonatsgo - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Good move with Knorr – the coaching staff needed to get younger with someone who could lead in the future,Knorr has a great relationship with most of the team and he has had success with them in the minor leagues. He should be a nice balance to Johnson.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    Well said,ehay2k. Mike Rizzo is doing a great job overall.

  6. Scooter - Nov 18, 2011 at 5:09 AM

    So, ehay2k mentioned Werth's two hitting coaches. That reminded me of something I've been wondering: why do teams have just one hitting coach? I mean, it's not like the whole team needs to be taught one approach (though I can see some value in that). Different hitters seem to respond to different coaches. Davey Johnson, by all accounts, has helped some of the Nats' hitters. Werth seems to have kind of sought outside counsel, as it were.I heard the on-the-radio-after-the-game guy, who might be named Phil Wood, near the end of the season. He pointed out how recent a phenomenon the full-time hitting coach actually is — like, only in the last 20 years or so has every team had one. So I think that aspect of coaching is still developing. And I wonder if using more than one coach might be a good next step.Anyway, it was just an idle thought. I thought someone here might find it interesting.

  7. baseballswami - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Scooter – I heard a discussion a while back – don't remember who was involved – about teams having a right-handed and left-handed hitting coach. I think on our team Eckstein is good at assembling all of the research on pitchers, but maybe not so good at the mental aspect of hitting. Since everyone learns differently, maybe just one style is not the right, shall we say, "approach".

  8. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Congrats to Randy! Glad to see him getting the nod as a former steward of our baby Nats.

  9. Sunderland - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Good for Knorr. I'm still bummed that we've decided the best thing we can do for our hitters is keep Eckstein. But in general, the consistency is good to have, and I suspect most of the Nats will be genuinely pleased to have Knorr with the team.

  10. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    btw, I speak as the proud owner of a Randy Knorr (Potomac) bobblehead. ;-)

  11. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Speaking of bobbleheads, if memory serves, Knorr's first stint as bullpen coach came after Wetteland was canned in mid-season (see also bobblehead-gate).

  12. Feel Wood - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    That reminded me of something I've been wondering: why do teams have just one hitting coach? I mean, it's not like the whole team needs to be taught one approach (though I can see some value in that). Different hitters seem to respond to different coaches. Davey Johnson, by all accounts, has helped some of the Nats' hitters. Werth seems to have kind of sought outside counsel, as it were.There's a rule about how many coaches in uniform a team is allowed to have during a game. Basically, it's six. Bench coach, pitching coach, bullpen coach, hitting coach, first base coach, third base coach. There's no rule that says they can't have other coaches who do not suit up for games, and also no rule that says players can't accept advice or coaching from other sources outside of game time. In fact, many do. You just don't hear about it. Also, many times a team's former players will come to spring training to work with hitters or pitchers. Ted Williams did it with the Red Sox, Koufax did it with the Dodgers, etc.People who are obsessing over the role of the hitting coach in a team's offensive performance need to understand that the situation in baseball is different than in football. In football, the coaches are implementing game strategy as well as imparting help with technique. Not so in baseball. In baseball the coaches (in particular the hitting coach) are largely just there to help the players hone their technique and perform to the best of their ability. Ultimately it is up to the player to do that in each individual at bat. The coach is really just a tutor, so if a player is not responding to the tutoring received from the hitting coach there is absolutely nothing wrong with him seeking out help from others. And it is not a negative mark against the hitting coach if some players have to do that.

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    I speak as the proud owner of a Randy Knorr (Potomac) bobblehead. ;-) Congrats, 1a. Have you named it?

  14. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Oh, a wise guy.Well, if you must know, it's George. :-)

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    1a, wasn't there something about setting off fireworks in the bullpen during a game? I remember reading about Wetteland riding off into the sunset on his motorcycle …captcha: boditotoIt's all good.

  16. Wally - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    This seems like a good hire. I don't know anything about him beyond what I have read, but he seems near unanimously respected by media types, and I like his profile as a younger guy who has managed at different levels and is considered a future managerial candidate. I think he and Porter can do at lot worse than spend time with Davey. That said, I hope Davey stays as manager for at least a few more years.Scooter (from previous thread) – thanks for the P-Nats tip. It is close enough to go, and I was planning to see Bryce last year before they bumped him straight to Harrisburg (I also missed him around the 4th of July when I went to NJ to see family, and was going to catch him at Lakewood. They promoted him literally the day before the game). Maybe we'll pick a game and each bring the kids? Should be a good rotation there this year.Keith Law had a chat yesterday, and probably the highest amount of Nats Qs ever. Some things I recall- Solis maybe raised his ceiling, if he continues to pitch 91-95 next year; no real improvement from Purke despite better numbers in later appearances; Bryce not likely ready until Aug/Sep 2012; Nats org very well run; doesn't think losing Kimball is a big deal. Just his viewpoint, but he did see a lot of the AFL.

  17. JamesFan - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    What I really like about Rizzo and the Lerners is that they are building an organization and a system for the long-haul. They aren't jumping from one hot star to another in a panic to field a team in two months based on hope and guess work. They hire the right, quality staff, spend money on draftees, and develop players. The free agent signings have been excellent as well. I think the Pudge signing was brilliant. Look what he did for this team. I'm comfortable with Werth as well. His deal changed the outlook in baseball toward the Nats. Every deal won't be a success. They never are (look at the Yankees), but the overall direction is very positive. If these guys keep operating this way, we are going to have great baseball in Washington for a long time.

  18. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    sec3, I can't find a link but seem to recall that Frank didn't take kindly to some of the in-game shenanigans that took place in the bullpen during Wetteland's tenure. I think there was one incident where the guys were throwing a ball at bobbleheads and breaking them or some such. May have been another story about bullpen highjinks on a road trip. Wish I could fink a link but I've come up dry so far.

  19. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    I did turn up this link. Evidently the Nats Journal archives no longer go that far back.

  20. markfd - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    I love this move, Randy beyond being a great guy has a keen baseball mind and wotrks well with the young players that have come through our system. Kudos for the Nats keeping the bench coach job in houose instead of going outside the organziation.

  21. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    uh, make that *find* a link

  22. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Okay, I found this one , too, but you can read only the summary for free. Okay, now that I've met my personal research challenge I can let that one go. Whew.

  23. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Oh, wait, gotta give equal time to our host.Okay, now I'm done. :-)

  24. Drew8 - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I like the continuity of this move and that Knorr has grown along with the players in the minor league system.In their heyday it helped the Orioles that Weaver, Billy Hunter and Cal Sr. had taught the players — and learned about them — throughout the team's minor league chain.

  25. Scooter - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Thanks, Feel Wood. I forgot about the coaches-in-uniform rule. As to the rest … yes, I suppose those people do need to learn that. Enjoy trying to educate the world.And Wally, it's a date. My dad and I usually plan out our season in early March, including both W and P Nationals. I'll post my dates, and we can meet in Woodbridge. Anyone else, too, of course!

  26. Nationals Anthems - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    This is a good move. I love his soups and gravies.

  27. natsfan1a - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    The dips are not too shabby, either.

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Kneitherr one, here. But the bouillon cubes are good.

  29. SonnyG10 - Nov 19, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    You guys and gals are a riot. Congrats Randy!!!

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