WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Nationals plan to hire Matt Williams as the organization’s next manager, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of MLB on Fox, with hopes of keeping Randy Knorr on staff as the team’s bench coach.
Williams has been a third base coach for the Diamondbacks for the past three seasons and a coach within the organization for the last four. His playing career – which included 5 All-Star selections and 4 NL Gold Glove Awards – spanned seventeen years with the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks. He retired in 2003 with 378 home runs and a .268 lifetime average.
“I’m not surprised necessarily that this is the direction it’s going,” Dave Jageler told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan after the report surfaced Friday, but suggested it may not be 100 percent given the Knorr will remain on-board a bench coach. Knorr was among a string of others to interview for the vacancy, including Brad Ausmus, DeMarlo Hale and Trent Jewett.
Dusty Baker and Cal Ripken, Jr. were not interviewed, despite reports indicating they had interest in the opening.
Williams and Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo have ties that go back to Arizona, where Rizzo was the Director of Scouting when Williams was the third baseman.
Former manager Davey Johnson, who retired at the end of the season, seemed to be have been pushing hard for Knorr to be his successor on his way out the door. Multiple players within the organization were also vocal about their support for Knorr. Ryan Zimmerman and Drew Storen each publicly endorsed Knorr take over the clubhouse.
“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 said of Knorr earlier this month.
Storen expressed skepticism about bringing someone in from the outside, saying, “things were clicking and if something changes drastically, I think there could be an acclimation period there that could be a little tough for us.”[tweet https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/393745302416412672 width=”420″]