by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – You may remember a short time ago when Drew Storen gave a ringing endorsement for bench coach Randy Knorr to take over as the Nationals’ next manager.

On Thursday, Ryan Zimmerman – the most tenured player on the Nationals – seconded that opinion, even putting Knorr over Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. as his preferred choice of who should run Washington’s clubhouse in 2014.

“Obviously he’s a good guy and knows baseball, and a bunch of think he could be a good manager, but I think we kind of see him as, he kind of went through everything that players have to go through to become a manager,” Zimmerman told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny.

“He started at Low-A, worked his way up, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A,” he said. “He’s been here for a couple years now, sort of the catcher and backup catcher kind of role, that so many of these young new managers that have had success kind of were in the big leagues. It helps to know the game, how to handle a pitching staff and things like that.”

“I think most importantly, all of us already have a relationship with him,” Zimmerman added. “We kind of know that we can talk to him about things, we can trust him, we know he’s gonna take care of us in the media. As much as you guys love to hear that, that’s a big part of it. He just, he knows a bunch of us. It wouldn’t bring a big amount of change within the organization.”

With two players having publicly given their opinion on the matter, and both yielding the same sort of impassioned, almost soliloquy- type response, one has to get the sense their opinions are reflective of the opinion of the locker room. Especially when the more recent opinion is willing to shoot down Cal, who, as Zimmerman would go on to mention, many Nationals players probably grew up idolizing.

“I’ve met him a few times,” Zimmerman said of Ripken. “Obviously growing up he was mine and millions of other peoples’ probably favorite player, and they respected what he did and how he played the game. I haven’t talked to him at all about being a manager for us, or just being a manager at all, I think getting back into the game.”

As the team continues to weigh its options, its former general manager, Jim Bowden, reported Wednesday they’re giving “serious consideration” to Cal Ripken, Jr. as a candidate for the job.

“I don’t think he would be a bad manager,” Zimmerman said. “I think it’s tough to be out of the game and have never managed before, and then to come right into it and be a manager at the big leagues, but if anyone could do it, I think he would be one of those guys that’s on the short list of people who could.”

However, before crowning Knorr as king of the player vote, consider just a few weeks earlier, Jayson Werth told the Washington Post when it comes to short lists, Ripken would be his “No. 1 choice.”

So for now, the ultimate verdict, which resides with GM Mike Rizzo – not Storen, Zimmerman or Werth – has yet to be reached, at least as far as the players know.


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