The Washington Nationals hired the rumored top choice amongst candidates from outside the organization as Davey Johnson's successor. Matt Williams is the Nats' sixth skipper. Top in-house option Randy Knorr is reportedly returning as bench coach after interviewing for the job opening created by Johnson's departure. Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on Thursday that Williams wasn't necessarily the favorite for the gig when the search started, but the 47-year-old former major league infielder impressed the Nats' brass. Williams will be introduced to the nation's capital this afternoon in a 2:00 PM EDT press conference.
So... what about those rumors about Cal Ripken being interested if anyone asked?
The Nationals never interviewed the Baltimore Orioles' Hall of Famer whose name came up as a potential candidate, but the Nats' GM told ESPN980's Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on the Sports Fix on Thursday that he and Ripken did talk if only to discuss why it wasn't a fit.
"We didn't interview Cal," Rizzo said. "We had a mutual decision that it wasn't the right time for Cal. Cal is a guy I know very, very well, I respect a lot. I've had a lot of candid conversations over the last couple years with him. He's been at a lot of games here and has sat with me a few times. And he's got great baseball acumen, but we mutually agreed that this wasn't the right time or place for him."
With the first big decision of the offseason out of the way, the Nationals' 52-year-old GM and President of Baseball Operations can move on to addressing the team's on-field needs.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote on Thursday that the Nats could have interest in bringing David DeJesus back after the veteran outfielder's brief stint with the organization this season. A left-handed reliever, a backup catcher, bench help. How about another starter? The Nationals beat writer for MLB.com wrote that his sources have told him, "...that the Nats have interest in Rays left-hander David Price or Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer if they are available this offseason."
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote Thursday that you can, "... add the Nationals to the list of teams that could make a play for free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, according to sources," who tell him the Nats could have interest in spite of the fact that they have Denard Span. Ellsbury's agent is, of course, Scott Boras.
What's next on the list? The Hot Stove season starts for real next Tuesday...
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- Nationals Officially Name Matt Williams New Manager
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