Last Friday, the Washington Nationals officially hired Matt Williams to be the fifth manager since baseball returned to The District. The move was expected. He has never managed before, other than in the Arizona Fall League. GM Mike Rizzo seems to have had his heart set on him based on their days in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
What I think I like most about Williams so far is that he wants to focus more on defensive alignments and has brought on Mark Weidemaier (The Post), a former D-Backs scout, to be “defensive coordinator.” In theory this raises the opportunities to get outs, but could also keep the fielders a more focused which seems to be have been an issue in 2013.
I’m skeptical about RISP being his favorite stat though (DC Sports Bog, The Post).
Jim Lett is the only departure from the coaching staff. Matt LeCroy, best known for Frank Robinson’s tearful press conference after pulling the then-catcher, replaces Lett as bullpen coach. I guess Lett had trouble picking up the phone.
The big news is that Williams asked/was told to keep bench coach Randy Knorr. Is it just me or does Knorr, bench coach and candidate for the manager’s job, look extremely uncomfortable at about 2:40?
He doesn’t look quite as mortified as I thought he did during Friday’s presser, but still that’s not what I’d call enthusiasm. That’s an awkward spot for him having interviewed for the job. I think it’ll be good that he’s sticking around to help Williams, but I kind of wonder about him sticking around after being denied the job.
So, while we wonder if 2014 will be #MATTITUDE or #MattsTown, we can all rest assured that Rizzo got his man, the person we thought he’d get and not some ex-Baltimore player a dozen years a removed from day-to-day MLB. Speaking of, The Post has run all of two columns on the Williams hiring and they were both by Thomas Boswell: & Nationals Manager Matt Williams is a hire who values defense and finding advantages which is exactly as many as were written abouta non-candidate from Baltimore in a single day.
LOVERRO: Nats’ hiring of Matt Williams sends message that Rizzo, not players, makes the call