The Washington Nationals have set a press conference for sometime the first week of November to announce their new manager. The man replacing Davey Johnson will be Matt Williams, the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ third base coach and longtime friend of GM Mike Rizzo .
The one unknown at this point is if Randy Knorr, who himself was a candidate for the job, will return to his former job as the team’s bench coach. He was the choice of many of the players who wanted to see him get the job, and he could be a very valuable asset to Williams as the new manager.
Rizzo’s plan is to get the two men he thought would make the best manger for the team, so this might just workout the way he wanted after all.
Washington is offering Knorr a sizable increase in salary on par with some managers in MLB. Knorr has asked and received a week or so from management to make up his mind about the offer. Most people inside baseball feel that Knorr will be back next season as the bench coach for Williams as he was for Davey Johnson.
Most Nationals players know very little about Williams other than he is a good coach and the Diamondback players love him for his honesty and his fairness. As a player, Williams made five All-Star teams, won four Gold Gloves and finished second in the 1994 MVP vote and third in 1999.
Respected by opponents and perhaps feared by some teammates, Williams became known as much for his powerful bat and slick fielding as his simmering intensity. Current Diamondbacks players and those close to him say he has mellowed as a coach and praised him for his ability to understand players.
He will be charged with taking over a Washington team that has won 184 games the past two seasons. His job is simple: all he has to do is to get Washington to their first World Series victory since 1924.
The Nationals won 86 games and finished second in 2013, a season considered a disappointment after taking the NL East title in 2012. The good news for Williams is that he is taking over one of the best young teams in baseball. He gets a roster that includes Stephen Strasburg atop the rotation and All-Star caliber players Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond in the middle of the lineup.
So the National get their man and they hope that his No.2 in charge, Mr. Knorr, will be by his side as the bench coach. We will know the answer soon, but I am betting that it will be ‘yes’ with a nice bump in pay.