According to CBS Sports and my colleague Brian Skinnell the Washington Nationals have narrowed down their search to replace retired manager Davey Johnson. The two names mentioned by CBS and Skinnell are Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr and Matt Williams who is presently the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ third base coach.
While I have no doubt that both men are very high on the list of candidates for the job my sources close to the Nationals tell me there is long way to go before the team names a manager. There will be a series of interviews and at this point the job remains open
Ted and Mark Lerner, the two highest ranking members of the Lerner family ownership group, and President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo will conduct the interviews. They will have additional input from a number of the teams’ executives and scouts including assistant GM and former big league manager Bob Boone.
The team is expected to interview former Baltimore Orioles star and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., and also likely to get an interview is Tampa Bay Rays‘ bench coach Dave Martinez. And should he wish to have an interview, present Houston Astros manager and former Nationals third base coach Bo Porter will have a chance to talk about running the team.
Choosing the next manager of the Washington Nationals is very critical at this point. This is a team that is built to be a perennial playoff contender, and getting the right person for that job is the single biggest offseason move that this team will make.
In the end it may very well be either Williams or Knorr, both men are certainly worthy of consideration. But hearing from all the possible candidates never hurts, and sometimes you are surprised by who gets the job. While no deadline has been set it is unlikely that someone will be named anytime this month because rarely are managers hired during the MLB Playoffs or the World Series.
The Winter Meetings take place in Orlando, December 9-12 at Disney World. It is very possible that by then the process will have be completed. Traditionally teams are at full strength when at the meetings because that’s where deals are done.
Take a deep breath folks; we have not been without Nationals baseball for a week yet. The team will get their man, but the process has to take place so they pick the right person for the job.