- Paul's wife gave birth to their first child in August 1994.
- After the 1994 season, Menhart used his own money to join the Blue Jays' Instructional League team in Dunedin, Fla. for workouts, even though he was not allowed to appear in any games because he was on strike.
- December 1995: The Mariners sent P Bill Risley and INF Miguel Cairo to the Blue Jays to acquire Paul and P Edwin Hurtado.
- June 10, 1997: The Padres sent P Andres Berumen to the Mariners for Menhart.
- June 18, 1999: The Indians signed Paul to a Triple-A contract.
- July 20, 1999: He signed with the Marlins organization.
- August 2000: The Rockies signed Paul.
May 3, 2019: When Paul went to take his dog, Gracie, he knew it might be the last chance he would have for awhile to do so. He had a flight booked for West Palm Beach, Fla., heading to the team’s complex to help coach struggling reliever Trevor Rosenthal back to form.
Menhart only made it about two houses down from his home near Savannah, Ga., before he got a phone call from Nationals assistant general manager Doug Harris telling him to cancel the flight to Florida and get ready to meet the Nationals in Philadelphia as their new pitching coach.
“And I just went, ‘Whoa, Doug. Don’t be messing with me,'” Menhart said from the visitor’s dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
By the time Menhart returned home and told his wife, Bitsy, the news, he had tears in his eyes. Menhart has been a member of the Nationals organization since 2006, serving as pitching coach at all three Minor League levels before becoming the team’s Minor League pitching coordinator in 2015. And now, after 14 years in the organization, Menhart has reached the big leagues, taking over as pitching coach after the Nationals fired Derek Lilliquist.
“It’s always a goal to get to the highest level of anything you do,” Menhart said. “It wasn’t something I was searching to do this year, because I love working with the kids down in the Minor Leagues—I have for the last 14 years. This is a nice reward. I’m very grateful.”
With Menhart, the Nationals believe they are injecting a different voice into the clubhouse to aid a pitching staff that has underachieved 30 games into this season. Their rotation, overhauled with the additions of Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez, entered has a 4.30 ERA, which ranks ninth in the National League. Their bullpen—which added Kyle Barraclough, Tony Sipp and Rosenthal this winter—has been a disaster all year, putting up a 5.87 ERA that trails only the Orioles for the worst in the Majors.
“I've never dealt with a pitching coach change in the middle of the season, so this is something that's going to be new for me,” Max Scherzer said. “The only thing here is with Paul, I worked with him in Spring Training, and so he knows kind of the basics of what I want to do. Now it's trying to get him on the same page of what I want to do in the season.”
Menhart inherits a staff that includes stars such as Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Corbin and Sean Doolittle. The Nationals believe Menhart’s years in the organization will ease the learning curve for the first-time pitching coach because he already has some sort of relationship with nearly the entire roster, from either their time in the Minors or from working with them during Spring Training.
“I’m not going in blind, so that’s the good thing,” Menhart said. “To have prior relationships with these guys is only going to benefit all of us. It’s just a matter now of hearing something that they may have heard differently coming out of my mouth. And hopefully moving forward, they get better as we try to do at every level. Big league guys need to get better, too. That’s what’s going to be the focus.”
Most importantly, the Nats want Menhart to provide a different perspective. They took issue with Lilliquist’s preparation for games and wanted him to embrace analytics more openly. And, after a 13-17 start, perhaps they were looking for a spark, something to ignite this team one month into the season.
“I told him I just want him to come here and 'do what you do best,'” manager Dave Martinez said. “You know what you're doing. So just go out there and build your relationships and be a pitching coach.” (J Collier - MLB.com - May 3, 2019)
- Oct 4, 2020: The contract of pitching coach Paul Menhart will not be not renewed for next year 2021, a source told MLB.com. Menhart has been a member of the Nationals organization since 2005. He was promoted to Major League pitching coach on May 1, 2019, when he replaced Derek Lilliquist.
Over the past 15 years, Menhart was the pitching coach for Class A Savannah (2006), Class A Hagerstown (‘07-08), Class A Advanced Potomac (‘09-11), Double-A Harrisburg (‘12-13) and Triple-A Syracuse (‘14). He was named Minor League pitching coordinator in ‘15, a role he held until last season.
Pitching was a driving force in the Nationals’ 2019 World Series title run. During the playoffs, they posted a 3.47 ERA, and the bullpen recorded six saves in seven opportunities. Among the standout performances, Stephen Strasburg became the first player to go 5-0 in a single postseason and won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.
This year, though, the Nats ranked 26th in the Majors with a 5.09 ERA. The staff was hampered early on when Strasburg pitched just five innings before being shut down for season-ending surgery to alleviate carpal tunnel neuritis in his right hand. Pitchers often struggled to work late in games, the rotation had a different look as Erick Fedde and Austin Voth became regular starters for the first time in their careers and Max Scherzer (5-4) was the only starter to record a winning record. In the bullpen, Washington converted just 12 of 22 save opportunities. (J Camerato - MLB.com - Oct 4, 2020)
|Home:||Conyers, GA||Team:||West Virginia|
|Birth City:||St. Louis, MO|
|Draft:||Blue Jays #8 - 1990 - Out of Western Carolina Univ. (NC)|
- Paul's FASTBALL is just-above-average at 87-90 mph and with good movement. He also has a very good CURVEBALL and an excellent CHANGEUP.
- Menhart is very confident in his changeup. He will throw it at any time in the count.
- "I'm primarily a starter, but whatever they want me to do is fine with me," Paul says.
POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS
- 2006: Menhart joined the Nationals organization as Pitching Coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats (SAL).
- 2007: Paul moved to Hagerstown with the Nationals' South Atlantic League team.
- 2009: Menhart was Pitching Coach for the Potomac Nationals (CAR).
- 2012: Paul moved up to the Harrisburg Senators (EL-Nationals) as Pitching Coach.
- 2014: Menhart was Pitching Coach for Syracuse (IL-Nats).
- 2015: The Nationals named Paul as organization Pitching Coordinator.
- May 2, 2019: Paul was named as the Nationals pitching coach. He replaced Derek Lilliquist.
- Oct. 4, 2020: The contract of pitching coach Paul Menhart was not be not renewed for 2021 by the Nationals.
Career Injury Report
- December 1993: Menhart had major reconstructive surgery on his right elbow and missed all of the 1994 season. He had a torn medial collateral ligament.
The elbow started bothering Paul in 1992 when he was pitching for Dunedin (FSL). It was then diagnosed as an inflamed ulnar nerve and a partial tear of the ligament. Rest was prescribed, but reconstructive surgery later became necessary. Braves' team doctor Joe Chandler did the operation because his practice is close to Menhart's home in Covington, GA.
1994: Paul started the season on the D.L. after the surgery. He did not pitch the whole year.
When the players went out on strike Aug. 12, 1994, Menhart was the only player who went on strike before he had played a game in the Major Leagues. Paul was paid the minimum Major League salary of $109,000 for the year and spent the summer working out and rehabbing. Paul saw a therapist twice a week.
- August 14, 1996: Menhart went on the D.L. with a sore right shoulder and missed the rest of the season.
- 1999: The day before spring training opened for the Angels, Menhart injured two of his toes when a kid in church dropped a wooden kneeling box on his foot. The toes were probably broken, but Paul refused X-Rays. Then, the first day of pitchers' fielding drills, he broke the pinky finger on his pitching hand.