The Washington Nationals now know their new manager will be former Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams. The announcement will come a day or two after the World Series as is the way things are done in MLB baseball.
GM Mike Rizzo and the ownership led by Mark and Ted Lerner made it clear to their new manager that they wanted bench coach Randy Knorr and pitching coach Steve McCatty retained. Williams had no problem with that request, so at this time, the team is waiting for both men to make up their minds as to whether they wish to return.
McCatty is very important key to the Nationals’ success and he has the complete trust of the pitching staff. A number of the Nats’ pitchers including Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and closer Rafael Soriano all have had extensive work with McCatty and like his style.
Like Knorr, the Nationals ownership will pay McCatty handsomely to stay. He has been the Washington’s pitching coach since 2009. His extensive knowledge of each pitcher on the big league roster as well as the farm hands that will likely make their way to the Nationals roster sometime in 2014 is vital to a smooth transition.
Williams is someone who understands that having McCatty and Knorr on his staff are very important. He will still be able to add his own coaches to his staff, and having two key Nationals holdovers will in no way keep him from putting his own stamp on the team.
One of the reason’s Rizzo thought Williams was the best person for the job was because of his knowledge of the game and also because of his ability to relate to coaches and players. Nationals pitcher Ryan Mattheus talked about Williams being his favorite player when he was with the San Francisco Giants.
Can the Nationals be successful without McCatty and Knorr? Yes, but if the team can keep them on board, then the chance of Williams being more successful from day one is far more likely.