The Washington Nationals have reportedly reached out to former Major League Baseball catcher Brad Ausmus about their managerial position. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the news on Wednesday afternoon:
Sources: Ausmus on #Nationals’ list of managerial candidates. Either has interviewed or will interview soon.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 16, 2013
The Nationals need a new skipper after Davey Johnson's retirement following the regular season. Heading into 2013, Washington was a trendy pick to win the National League East and make a deep playoff run, but the Nats finished 86-76 and four games out of a playoff spot.
The 44-year-old Ausmus played 18 years in MLB with four different teams, with his final season being 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com shared that Ausmus is still staying busy in the world of baseball, however:
While Ausmus might have international managerial experience, he has been with San Diego in his front office role since his retirement. Hiring coaches with no MLB managerial or coaching experience has happened recently, including St. Louis signing Mike Matheny before the 2012 season and the Colorado Rockies signing Walt Weiss before 2013.
According to the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, the Nationals recently reached out to the Padres about Ausmus' availability:
The Nats reached out to the Padres last week. Brad Ausmus is a front office assistant for San Diego.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 16, 2013
Kilgore reports bench coach Randy Knorr and third base coach Trent Jewett are the top internal candidates for the job, while he also linked the Nationals to Don Mattingly and Bo Porter, managers of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, respectively.
Another hot candidate that has emerged is Cal Ripken Jr., but Kilgore reported that Ripken isn't actively pursuing any managerial openings:
Cal Ripken seems bemused by the attention paid to his managerial prospects, but he's willing to listen. http://t.co/EuFHXO7NRZ— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 15, 2013
Washington appears to be a desirable job for any prospective manager. With a relatively new ballpark and a talented nucleus of sluggers like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth along with arms like Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann, the next skipper will inherit high expectations from Day 1.