Nationals' Manager Matt Williams Talks Defense, Dusty Baker And More On The MLB Network

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

New Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams is bringing a defensive coach with him to the nation's capital. He's stressed the importance of defensive positioning and talked about the influence his own managers have had on him. How will it all work when he puts it into practice?

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams talked in his introductory press conference about the importance of defense and his emphasis on "bringing your glove" to the park every day as he put it. He also revealed then that he was bringing a defensive coach with him from Arizona.

"There's a little more emphasis put on being in the right place. We've seen a lot of shifts and defense has become a very important part of the game." - Matt Williams on the MLB Network "Hot Stove" show

Former D-Backs' Special Assistant to the GM and Major League Advance Scout Mark Weidemaier was hired away from the Diamondbacks to serve as the Nationals' Defensive Coordination and Advance Coach.

In an interview on the MLB Network's Hot Stove show this week, the Nats' new skipper talked more about the importance of defense and the role Weidemaier will play in D.C. Here's what Williams had to say:

"It's interesting because defensive alignment is a big part of the game these days. You just don't throw the gloves on and go play everybody straight up and look [to] your athletes to go catch the baseball and all of that. Today it's a little more intricate. There's a little more emphasis put on being in the right place. We've seen a lot of shifts and defense has become a very important part of the game. You have to, certainly, defend well if you're going to win and like I said, that's an important part of our dynamic. So, Mark Weidemaier is going to join us. He has a fantastic advance scouting pedigree that comes along with him and he'll be in charge of that and looking at our advance reports and tendencies of the other team and things like that. I think it's important to note that that part of it is growing in our game. We've seen it happen now a couple of times this offseason. There are teams that are putting more emphasis on defense and we are certainly one of them."

"I want to understand veteran players like Bob Brenly did with us in the desert in 2001. Understand that sometimes you have to let the reins off a little bit and let the guys handle it themselves." - Matt Williams on the MLB Network's Hot Stove show

The Nationals are likely to field the same everyday lineup they had out there last season. Ryan Zimmerman's going to be back at third. Adam LaRoche is going to back at first. The "Will they sign Cano?" talk has finally died, so unless Danny Espinosa somehow outplays Anthony Rendon this spring, the Nats' 2011 1st Round pick figures to be back on the right side of the infield alongside double play partner Ian Desmond at short. The Nats just added an outfield bat to the bench in Nate McLouth, but the starting outfield of Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth will likely be out there left-to-right on Opening Day barring any injuries, setbacks, hiccups, etc.

Can they stay healthy and get back to 2012-ish levels of defensive efficiency?

Williams also explains in the interview what he's taken from the managers who have had an impact on his own career both in his playing and coaching days. "I've played under some great managers," Williams said. "I played under Dusty [Baker], he's my mentor, so I want to be a players' manager as he is. I want to be as prepared as Buck Showalter, who I played under. I want to understand veteran players like Bob Brenly did with us in the desert in 2001. Understand that sometimes you have to let the reins off a little bit and let the guys handle it themselves. I want a little bit of [Kirk Gibson's] passion and the way he goes about it. So I'll try to take a little bit from all of the guys that I played under and try to incorporate it into our game here."

If you missed the interview when it originally aired or when we included it in yesterday's link post, check it out below:


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker