Hey Nationals fans! I hope you all had a safe Halloween – did you all see my son dressed as Jayson Werth? Anyway, now that the World Series is over, the Washington Nationals can make it official: Matt Williams has been hired as their new manager.
Williams, 47, becomes the fifth full-time manager in Nationals history. The team made the announcement on Thursday morning, and Williams will meet with the media Friday afternoon during a 2 p.m. press conference that will be televised live on MASN HD.
A five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger award winner and four-time Gold Glove award recipient at third base, Williams played 17 seasons in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks (1998-03), Indians (1997) and Giants (1987-96). I remember him most with the Giants, on the same lineup as Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark; I guess that means I’m getting old!
Williams has spent the last four years on the Diamondbacks’ coaching staff, serving one year as first base coach and the last three years as third base coach. This will be Williams’ first big league managerial job, so going from legendary manager Davey Johnson, who was around for about 90 years or so, to a rookie manager will take some getting used to.
Williams was chosen over a handful of other candidates, including Randy Knorr, who is expected to return as Nationals bench coach and has been with the organization since 2005, third base coach Trent Jewett, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale. My personal candidate, Sandy Alomar, Junior, was not even considered. Randy Knorr, however, had the endorsement of several Nationals players including Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, and Tyler Clippard, so I hope they can all adjust to the new guy coming in as opposed to working under a guy who has been there since the team moved here from Montreal.
And wasn’t Matt Williams included in that Mitchell report that listed players who had used performance-enhancing drugs? I guess that shouldn’t affect your abilities as manager (look at Mark McGuire, who has excelled as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals despite “mis-remembering” if he took PEDs or not). So I’m going to be open-minded about Matt Williams – there’s no need to dislike the guy before the season has even started. I just hope Mike Rizzo does SOMETHING during the winter meetings in December, they don’t re-sign free agents Dan Haren and Chad Tracy, and Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Adam LaRoche recover nicely from their recent surgeries (Harper had the bursa in his knee repaired and Strasburg and LaRoche had bone chips removed from their elbows).
Spring Training is less than 4 months away, so hang in there, Nats fans, and enjoy the upcoming holidays with your families!