Matt Williams has officially been hired to replace Davey Johnson as Nationals manager, with a press conference scheduled tomorrow.
In announcing the move general manager Mike Rizzo said: “He’s been someone on my radar as a potential manager for years.”
Williams has been serving as Arizona’s third base coach under manager Kirk Gibson, but was the Diamondbacks’ third baseman way back when Rizzo was their scouting director.
No word yet on if Johnson’s bench coach, Randy Knorr, will stick around in the same job with Williams after interviewing for the manager gig himself. Williams, who played 17 seasons in the majors and made six All-Star teams before going into coaching, is 47 years old.
UPDATE: Knorr is returning, so the Nationals get their top outside candidate and keep their favorite in-house guy too.
Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.
The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:
On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”
He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.
A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.
The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.
But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.