Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

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Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Orioles re-sign Jace Peterson

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Because baseball teams have to have 25 guys — and because someone has to be that 25h guy — the Orioles have re-signed utilityman Jace Peterson. It’s a minor league contract so he may not be the actual 25th man but, c’mon, he’s gonna be the 25th man. Let’s get real here.

Peterson hit .195/.308/.325 in 200 at-bats for the Orioles last season. That’s not good, but he can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield. He can’t play them particularly well, but you know that thing Casey Stengel said about how catchers are important because without them there are a lot of passed balls? Same goes for third base and stuff. Again: Orioles.

I was going to add that he was the only player in MLB history named “Jace,” but Jace Fry exists, so he doesn’t even have that distinction anymore, and that’s kind of a bummer.

Happy Thanksgiving.