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Washington Nationals fire Matt Williams: Mike Rizzo on tough day at Nationals Park

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The Washington Nationals announced this morning that Matt Williams and his coaching staff were relieved of their duties after a disappointing 2015 campaign in the nation's capital. GM Mike Rizzo talked to reporters about making a tough decision.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

"I think we're all disappointed in the outcome," Matt Williams told reporters after the Washington Nationals' loss to the New York Mets on Sunday left them 83-79 at the end of the 2015 regular season.

"It provides fuel. It provides fire to everybody to understand where we're at now and to look forward to getting back where we want to be," he said.

"Again, it's a long grind of a season. There's 162 of them. And when it's all over, as we've talked about, it all happens very abruptly. So time to reflect, time to evaluate, and move on from there."

"As I've said, this entire season was a disappointment, not only to myself, but to ownership and to the fan base of Washington, D.C. It was not our best year." -Mike Rizzo on Nationals' disappointing season

Williams wasn't given much time to reflect, and if he moves on it will be with another organization.

The second-year skipper was relieved of his duties as manager of the Nationals this morning, and the Nats relieved his entire coaching staff of their duties as well, though he did inherit most of the coaches when he took the job two years back. Some members of the staff have been offered jobs elsewhere in the organization and at least one is a potential candidate for the next manager.

Two years, an NL East division title, NLDS loss, NL Manager of the Year award and disappointing follow-up season later, Matt Williams is out as the Nationals' manager.

The search for a new skipper will begin in earnest as GM Mike Rizzo and the Nats move on to planning for the 2016 campaign after a season that started with extremely high expectations ended in a disappointing second-place finish in the division.

"We had much higher expectations," Rizzo told reporters, including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman on Sunday, before the season finale with the Mets in Citi Field.

"We thought going into the season we created a roster that could’ve and should’ve competed for the National League East championship and beyond — that’s what we were built for — and it didn’t happen."

Williams' tenure on the bench ends after he led the team to a 179-145 record (.552 winning %) in his first two years as a full-time manager at any level outside of brief stints as a skipper at Double-A and in the Arizona Fall League.

"These are the first of the decisions that we felt we needed to make as we meticulously evaluate why the 2015 season didn't go the way we had hoped." -Mike Rizzo on Matt Williams' dismissal

Rizzo spoke to reporters on a conference call this afternoon about the decision that was made this morning.

"Really a tough day here at Nationals Park," Rizzo said in an opening statement.

"A tough day for me personally. A tough day for our entire organization, but these are the first of the decisions that we felt we needed to make as we meticulously evaluate why the 2015 season didn't go the way we had hoped.

"As I've said, this entire season was a disappointment, not only to myself, but to ownership and to the fan base of Washington, D.C. It was not our best year. It wasn't Matt's best year. It wasn't my best year. As an organization, it wasn't our best year. All of us, together, feel the disappointment throughout the 2015 season.

"We felt that it was right for us to look at every aspect of the organization and figure out ways that we could work better, getting us back on track to reach our ultimate goal, which of course, is bringing a World Series championship back to D.C. and its fan base."

"This is not an easy thing," Rizzo continued. "This is a business and as such requires some very, very tough difficult choices and this certainly was one of them."

"On a personal note, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Matt Williams for the work he has done here. He worked extremely hard and diligently to try to bring a championship here to Washington, D.C.

"I share greatly in his disappointment that his tenure here did not end the way that we wanted it to.

"I do know that the experience Matt gained here will serve him well as his career continues and on a larger scale and on a personal scale, because of his commitment to it, our community is richer for having him here."

"Once hired, our new manager will work closely with our front office to put together a first-class coaching staff," Rizzo said.

That process will begin immediately, Rizzo explained today.

"We're going to immediately begin the process of the search of the manager. It will start this afternoon here in the front office and continue painstakingly until we have a manager under contract that we think is going to bring us a World Series championship in 2016 and beyond."