While it hasn’t exactly been confirmed yet, the strong feeling around town is that the Washington Nationals will hire Matt Williams to fill the vacant manager position. The only question now is what will happen to bench coach Randy Knorr?
Knorr interviewed for the position and many believed that he was the leading candidate until Williams sat in the hot seat and took the top spot, and eventually the job. Now, Knorr could either leave the Nationals and explore other options or return to Washington to continue on as the teams bench coach.
According to my colleague James Williams, the Nationals are ready to pay Knorr a sum that would equal that of a manager’s salary to remain as the team’s bench coach. The feeling is that the Nationals hired Williams with the hopes that they would also be able to hang onto Knorr.
For Washington, they need Knorr more than they need Williams. Knorr had the support of the players to fill the vacant position, and he knows this team better than just about anybody. Since he joined the organization in 2001, Knorr has managed at every minor league level and has played a key role in nearly every player’s career. They know him and he knows them. There’s already a sense of respect and understanding there.
Williams needs the support of Knorr more than anybody else in the Nationals’ organization. If he can gain the support Knorr right from the get-go, he’ll more easily gain the support and trust from the players. Essentially, Knorr can act as a recommendation to the team that Williams is the right guy for the job.
Retaining Knorr is not only best for the Nationals, but integral to the success of Williams as the manager. Bringing in a whole new bench coach could make the transition period take that much longer and make things somewhat difficult moving forward. With Knorr, they’ll be able to smoothly transition into the Williams era of Nationals baseball.