In a press release announcing Washington manager Matt Williams as the Baseball Writers' Association of America's National League Manager of the Year this past November, Mike Rizzo praised the Nationals' first-year skipper for the work Williams did with the 96-66 2014 NL East Champions.
"'His first year in the dugout was excellent,'" Rizzo said, "'and it was a pleasure to watch him grow throughout. He is a respected leader, and the steady hand that navigated our team through many challenges this season.
"'What we accomplished this season would not have been possible without the right man at the helm. That was Matt this season, and we’re all looking forward to 2015.'"
Williams' first season on the bench in the nation's capital ended when the Nationals dropped a quick four-game NLDS to the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
When he spoke to reporters at NatsFest in December, Williams said he considered the season a success in spite of the abrupt end.
"It always ends so abruptly when you don't win, so it's disappointing," Williams said.
"We had a chance to get to the playoffs and wanted to go further and it didn't happen. At that point you understand the playoff series and understand the season as a whole, I would rate it as a success for us. It was a good learning experience for our guys moving forward and hopefully we get a chance to get back and take the next step and hopefully beyond that. For 29 teams it all ends way too fast, we want to be the last ones standing at some point."
With less than a month to go before pitchers and catchers report for the start of Spring Training and the 2015 season, Williams received his NL MOY award at the BBWAA Awards dinner tonight at the New York Hilton:
Skippers get their due: Matt Williams & Buck Showalter receive their Manager of the Year awards at the BBWAA dinner. pic.twitter.com/jxZ3BK5xrE— MLB (@MLB) January 25, 2015
#CongratsMatt! The entire #Nats organization is proud of the 2014 NL Manager of the Year! pic.twitter.com/BezrTlKMP9— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 25, 2015