Unfortunately, it’s that time of year for the Washington Nationals. At the beginning of the season, D.C. hoped that they would be prepping for a playoff run at this point. Instead, we’re now discussing and debating who will succeed Davey Johnson in the manager spot in 2013.
While a few options have been thrown around, the Nationals should stay in-house when they make their decision, more specifically they should promote current bench coach Randy Knorr.
Knorr has been with the Nationals franchise since 2001, dating back to when he was a catcher for the Montreal Expos. Prior to playing for the Expos, he played for the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, then Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers. In 1993, he won a World Series championship with the Blue Jays.
As a coach, Knorr has worked his way through the Minor League system much like a player would. In 2006, Knorr served as the Class A Potomac Nationals manager and was promoted to the Nationals bullpen coach later that year. In 2007 and 2008, he was back in Potomac. In 2009, he was again promoted to coach the Nationals bullpen. In 2010, Knorr was the manager of the Harrisburg Senators, Washington’s Class AA affiliate. In 2011, he was promoted to the Class AAA Syracuse Chiefs to be their manager before landing in D.C. to be the bench coach in 2012.
There are many pluses to having Knorr as the team’s new manager. Since he made his way through the Minor League system and has been a part of the club since the early 2000’s, Knorr has played a role in nearly each and every career of the current Washington Nationals lineup. He’s a familiar face that understands his players both professionally and personally.
Knorr is also a no-bull kind of manager as well. Earlier in the season when he replaced an ejected Davey Johnson, Knorr showed the guts to pull reliable, but floundering, closer in Rafael Soriano and that move likely won the Nationals the game. Afterwards, he showed no fear in answering questions by saying that if the guy on the mound didn’t want to make the save, he had no problems pulling him in favor of someone that would.
I still maintain that a coach at the professional level is overrated. However, having a manager that understands how to play his team to their strengths and knowing how to motivate them is an important quality. There aren’t very many people that know the Nationals better than Knorr.
While there are many options that general manager Mike Rizzo could look at when it comes to replacing Davey Johnson, Randy Knorr is the best fit. He’s been with the team for a number of years, has been by many of the players side as they journeyed through the Minor Leagues together and has the guts to make risky managerial moves.