Nagy is returning to the Indians organization as pitching coach at Triple-A Columbus, and both sides view the move, which was announced Thursday at the Winter Meetings, as a perfect fit. The Indians will entrust their impressionable young arms with a three-time All-Star who has earned their respect, and Nagy will get back into the game he loves.
"This is the perfect time, with my kids and my family, to get back into coaching," Nagy said. "It's an exciting time."
It's an exciting time for fans, too, as Nagy is yet another tie to the Tribe's good ol' days -- and a popular one, at that. Just a few weeks ago, new manager Manny Acta named Sandy Alomar Jr. his first-base and catching coach, so the Indians have brought back two beloved batterymates in coaching roles.
"It's pretty funny how it all worked out," Nagy said.
In evaluating options for the Columbus pitching post, which was vacated when Scott Radinsky was promoted to Acta's staff as the bullpen coach, Tribe farm director Ross Atkins viewed Nagy as an obvious choice.
But Atkins wasn't sure Nagy, who coached at Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels' organization in 2006 and '07, was interested.
One phone call settled that. Nagy jumped at the chance.
"Being away from the game for two years, every year you're away, it's harder to get back in," Nagy said. "I have two girls, 11 and 6, and they're old enough now to come out in the summertime, after school is over. So this worked out well."
Atkins would certainly agree.
"I can't imagine us finding someone not only with that baseball pedigree but also that Cleveland Indians pedigree," he said. "With the professionalism he's imparted on this organization already, there really could not be a better fit for us. We know, first-hand, that we would like to have that imparted on our players."
The Indians should have an interesting pitching mix at Columbus next year. Multiple young arms will be competing to round out the Major League rotation, and the Columbus team figures to feature promising prospects Hector Rondon, Carlos Carrasco and Jeanmar Gomez, among others, at the outset of the season.
"Ross explained to me that we have a lot of quality arms they brought in from trades they made," Nagy said. "I'm excited to work with them. This is the future, and it's how the Indians will have to get better. If they want to win a championship, these are the guys they'll be relying on to get them there."
Nagy, 42, will be entrusted with those guys, and the Indians hope he can impart some wisdom gleaned from a remarkably durable 14-year career in the Majors.
"We feel it's the ideal fit for someone in Triple-A trying to get over that hump," Atkins said. "There are not as many fundamental adjustments going on. It's more about helping those players deal with success, deal with failure and deal with everything professional baseball throws at you. Just having his experience makes us better."
Nagy's career began when he was taken by the Indians as the 17th overall pick in the 1988 Draft. He went on to debut with the Tribe in 1990, and he pitched for the Indians until 2002, going 129-103 with a 4.51 ERA in 313 appearances, including 297 starts. He was selected to three American League All-Star teams.
In 15 postseason appearances with the Tribe, including the 1995 and '97 World Series, Nagy went 3-4 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 postseason appearances. His career ended after five appearances with the Padres in '03.
After spending two years as a special assistant to the Tribe's baseball operations department, Nagy embarked upon his coaching career with the Angels.
"It was eye-opening," he said of the two years in Salt Lake. "I had been in the Indians' organization my whole career, so it was nice to see how another organization operates. The Angels gave me that opportunity, and I learned a lot."
Rounding out the Columbus staff will be Lee May Jr., who will serve as hitting coach after filling the same role at Double-A Akron last year. As announced last week, former Akron skipper Mike Sarbaugh will manage the Clippers.