Report: Long Leaves Nationals to Reunite With Girardi
The band will be back together again. Actually, a couple combinations so. The Phillies made the decision to part with hitting coach Joe Dillon at season's end. It looks like Dillon will be replaced by the one who recommended him for the job, someone who is well-connected to both Phillies manager Joe Girardi and Phillies star Bryce Harper.Kevin Long
The news comes one day after the Nationals announced some coaching decisions.
Yesterday, Jesse Rodriguez of the Washington Post reported that Washington Nationals coaches Bob Henley and Randy Knorr would not be invited to return in 2022. However, Rodriguez reported, all other Nationals coaches were invited to return. That would indeed include Long.
However, Long only signed a one-year contract last offseason, leaving Long free to pursue the opportunity he saw best.
Long served as hitting coach under Girardi from 2008 to 2014. Long was in place as New York Yankees hitting coach when Girardi was named manager. Long next served in the same role with the New York Mets from 2015-2017 before taking his most recent position in Washington.
In Washington, Long worked with a World Series Championship team, and for one season, Harper.
Long is replacing his former assistant hitting coach. When Dillon was hired by the Phillies two seasons ago, he received high praise from Long. When Dillon was hired , Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that the Nationals would not let Long go, but Long had a lot to do with the Phillies hiring Dillon:
Girardi’s initial familiarity with Dillon stemmed from his relationship with Long, his hitting coach for seven seasons with the New York Yankees. Long’s endorsement seems to have carried considerable weight, too, as Girardi credited Dillon with keeping the Nationals’ hitters prepared during a six-day layoff before the World Series.
The Nationals will now be in search of a hitting coach.
Long was reported to have been one of the higher-paid coaches in MLB, and has widely been seen as one of the top hitting coaches in the game. This seems to be a move that is meant to have Girardi's preferred coach on his staff.