The decision not to keep Menhart was first reported by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.
Menhart served as the Nationals pitching coach for three years in 2014, three in Advanced Class A, two in Class AA and one year with the Syracuse Chiefs Class AAA. He then served as the minor league pitching coordinator for four seasons, hopping between affiliates to nurse young poor people. In May 2019, Menhart was promoted after Washington fired Derek Lilliquist. Menhart was hired to fix a broken bullpen and oversee a veteran’s rotation. He soon helped the Nationals win the World Series.
But employees struggled in 2020, a season complicated by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Washington starters had the fourth worst ERA in baseball. This was in part because Stephen Strasburg missed most of the summer following a carpal tunnel surgery. The rest of the rotation, however, struggled to find a rhythm under difficult circumstances.
Patrick Corbin scored 85 goals in the league. Aníbal Sánchez, 36, had an ERA of 6.62 in 11 starts. Austin Voth had an ERA of 6.34 in 11 starts and couldn’t take the next step to adequately fill fifth in the rotation. And while that’s not all at Menhart, pitching trainers are judged on the performance of their employees. Pitching issues – and a lack of deep starts – were a major reason the Nationals ended between 26 and 34 and missed the playoffs.
On the other hand, the helpers Tanner Rainey and Kyle Finnegan came into their own under Menhart’s watch. Wander Suero showed signs of improvement in 2020. This all reflected Menhart’s story in player development, which also matched his personality and willingness to teach. The Nationals initially sponsored Menhart because they wanted a new voice that would convey a different message than Lilliquist’s. Now they will look for it again.