Now that the playoffs are officially out of the picture for the Washington Nationals, it’s time to start focusing on what they need to do this offseason in order to be ready for 2014. The most important item on their agenda is finding their next manager as Davey Johnson is stepping aside once the season is over.
Earlier this year, I wrote that current Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr should be the next manager of the D.C. ball club. Knorr has been with Washington since the early 2000s, has managed every single farm team the Nationals have, and has played a key role in the careers of most regulars on the current Nationals squad.
Knorr is a no-bull kind of manager. In the summer, he pulled closer Rafael Soriano after he gave up a couple hits to start a save attempt. When asked why he made the somewhat unorthodox move to pull the closer, Knorr said that he wanted a guy on the mound that was willing to get the job done. If Soriano didn’t want the save, then he was going to give it to someone that wanted it.
As it turns out, Knorr also thinks that he would make a great skipper.
“Do I think I can do it? Yeah, I think I’d be a great manager. But, hey, they got to make that decision. It’s a tough decision for them,” Knorr told one D.C. media outlet. Other names that have been thrown around for the job are Cal Ripken Jr., Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, Nationals third base coach Trent Jewett, Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams and Pittsburg Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell.
While it would be cool to have the great Cal Ripken as the manager and a great story to have the beloved Bo Porter return the Nationals, Knorr is far and away the best candidate, not just the best in-house candidate. He has spent a number of years with the major league ball club and if there’s one manager that is guaranteed to back up his team, it’s Knorr.
Numerous times this season, Knorr has stepped out of the dugout to argue a call or come to the defense of one of his players.
Whomever fills the role of manager, they’ll have some big shoes to fill. In the brief history of the Nationals since the original Montreal franchise moved to D.C., Davey Johnson has been the best manager of the franchise. After Jim Riggleman bolted, Johnson stepped in and turned the Nationals from the doormat of the NL East to the top of MLB in just a few months time.
When the decision is made, Knorr should be the one introduced as the next manager of the Nationals. He fits the managing style for this club well and will manage this ball club best since he knows how to best use each player thanks to his long tenure in Washington.