Matt Williams Named Washington Nationals Manager
From Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post:
Mike Rizzo says he's not ready to announce coaching staff makeup, but there won't be "transformation." Wants to keep consistency.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 31, 2013
Rizzo: Williams was not a favorite entering the process. His character, demeanor, preparedness, intellect and communication stood out.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 31, 2013
Rizzo: Williams was "extremely candid" on his tie to Mitchell Report. "It certainly was something we discussed. We didn’t agonize over it."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) October 31, 2013
From Dan Kolko of MASN:
Matt Williams: “I feel privileged and honored to be a part of this team. ... I’m simply here to help take us to the next level.” #Nats— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) October 31, 2013
From Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington:
Rizzo on Williams in official release from #Nats: "He’s been someone on my radar as a potential manager for years."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) October 31, 2013
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports previously reported Williams had emerged as the favorite to land the job as the Nationals worked to keep Randy Knorr on board as the bench coach.
Sources: #Nationals plan to hire Matt Williams as manager with goal of keeping Randy Knorr as bench coach. Timing of announcement not known.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 25, 2013
Williams will replace Davey Johnson, who retired after the team's season came to an end without a postseason berth. Johnson spent the past two-and-a-half years leading the Nationals after taking over for Jim Riggleman during the 2011 season.
In recent years, Williams worked on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff, which was the final team he played for during his playing career. Once it became apparent Johnson was retiring, he immediately became one of the names linked to the job.
The 47-year-old spent 17 years in the majors, appearing in over 1,900 games between the regular season and the playoffs. Over that time, he was named to five All-Star teams and won four Gold Gloves. He won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001.
He finished his career with 378 home runs, including a league-leading 43 in 1994, and an OPS above .800. When you pair that success at the plate with his slick fielding, he was an all-around player who should relate well to players, regardless of their role within the team.
Williams' task with the Nationals is getting a team that underperformed this season back on track. Washington doesn't lack talent, headlined by Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but it finished 10 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
The Nats should be able to put up a better fight in the division race next season, and apparently the front office believes Williams is the manager who can put the club over the top.
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