Ex-Nationals player Gerardo Parra hired as first-base coach

WASHINGTON — Gerardo Parra — of “Baby Shark” fame — will be the new first-base coach for the Washington Nationals as part of a series of changes to manager Dave Martinez’s staff announced by the club on Friday after a fourth consecutive last-place finish in the NL East.

Miguel Cairo will be Martinez’s bench coach and Ricky Gutierrez is shifting to third-base coach after holding the title of run prevention coordinator in 2023. Chris Johnson was hired as assistant hitting coach.

Holdovers include hitting coach Darnell Coles, pitching coach Jim Hickey, catching and strategy coach Henry Blanco and bullpen coach Ricky Bones.

This is Parra’s first job on a major league coaching staff. After retiring in 2021, he started working in the Nationals’ front office in 2022. Parra played in the majors for 12 years and signed with Washington in 2019 as a backup outfielder. His choice of “Baby Shark” as his walkup music — a nod to his 2-year-old daughter — became a rallying cry for fans and players while the club won its first championship that season.

Cairo, also a former player, was the minor league infield coordinator for the New York Mets last season. Before that, he was the bench coach for the Chicago White Sox for two seasons.

Coles, Hickey, Blanco and Bones head into their third season in these roles with Washington.

The Nationals did not renew the contracts of bench coach Tim Bogar, third-base coach Gary DiSarcina, first-base coach Eric Young Jr. and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler.

The Nationals went 71-91 in 2023 as general manager Mike Rizzo continues to try to remake their roster. In the National League, only the Colorado Rockies finished with a worse record this year.

Rizzo and Martinez both got new contracts during the season.

Rizzo has been the team’s GM since 2007. He hired Martinez for his first managerial job before the 2018 season.

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