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Washington Nationals news & notes: Trevor Williams Season 1 in D.C.; Carter Kieboom & latest opportunity...

Notes and quotes from the final weeks of the Nationals’ 2023 campaign...


A quick note: In addition to the changes to the Nationals’ scouting and front office staff this offseason, which have been significant, the club is making some changes to their manager Davey Martinez’s coaching staff.

As was first reported by The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli, at least three of Washington’s coaches have been told they won’t be back in the dugout in 2024:

Multiple writers on the Nationals beat confirmed the initial report, and added a name to the list:

Are you surprised to see the changes to the coaching staff? MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted in a story on the decisions with the coaching staff last night, Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo said at the end of the regular season any potential staffing changes would be discussed once he got to talk to Martinez, and ownership to get their thoughts.

“Those are usually Davey decisions,” Rizzo explained, “but we always have input with it with myself and the front office.”

Did Martinez want to make changes to the staff? Did the decision come from above the field manager’s head?

More important than the clubhouse/front office gossip .... gossip about who they’ll now get to replace the coaches who are out in D.C.?


Davey Martinez talked openly late this season about signs that his veteran starter, Trevor Williams, was reaching his limit workload-wise. Martinez and his staff monitored all their starters closely, to keep the young arms going, but when watching Williams, he said, there were signs the 31-year-old, eight-year veteran was tiring after moving back into a starting role following a few seasons of doing the majority of his work in relief.

“His velo is down a little bit. His velo is down,” Martinez explained. “I talked to him, and he said, ‘Man, it’s been a long year.’ But he’s trying to push himself, because he understands the importance of eating innings this year for next year.

“And the more he can push his body through this year, he knows what he has to do over the winter to get through it next year, so he’s been awesome.”

Williams made 30 starts total on the year, posting a 5.55 ERA, a 5.99 FIP, 53 walks (3.30 BB/9), and 111 Ks (6.92 K/9) in 144 13 innings pitched over which he gave up 34 home runs (2.12 HR/9) and put up a .300/.359/.533 line against in the first year of his 2-year/$13M deal in D.C.

“I’m just thankful my body was able to hold up all year,” Williams said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after his final start of the season.

“It’s a big step forward for me,” he explained.

“I don’t know how many innings I ended up with, but for me to have that as a baseline going into next year is only going to help me be ready and sustain me for next year.”

“He wants to compete,” Martinez said of Williams’ season as a whole, after the starter gave the club 3 13 innings in his final start of the year. “He wanted to stay in the game, I know he did, but I thought that was it. He was really giving us everything he had there, and at that particular moment, I thought — we talked, I talked to [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey, and he said, ‘Man, he’s given it everything.” But he competed all year long, he gave us the innings we needed, he picked us up a lot. He gave us extra innings at times. But I love the guy. What he did for us, forget the numbers, he posted up every five days, and for a guy who hasn’t done that for a while, that was awesome.”


“Yeah, we changed some things with his approach and his swing,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters a few weeks into the latest run in the majors for Carter Kieboom.

“I saw him a lot better, got his hands a little bit further back.”

“Really just trying to be shorter to the ball,” Kieboom explained when asked about the adjustments. “I’ve got a lot of moving parts, and when it’s on-time, it’s great. But it’s really hard for me to repeat. Davey and D.C. [Hitting Coach Darnell Coles] and I, we kind of all talked, and we’re just trying to figure out what’s comfortable, but what’s also a little more simple and easy to repeat. I spread out a little today, hands were up a little bit higher. I felt like I was ready to hit sooner. I was able to see pitching a little better today.”

Kieboom, 26, and the Nationals’ 2016 1st Round pick, returned to the majors in mid-August for the first time since 2021, after struggling in his first few seasons in the big leagues and dealing with several injuries (including Tommy John surgery in 2022), and played 27 games down the stretch, going 18 for 87 (.207/.266/.368) with two doubles, four home runs, six walks, and 27 Ks in 94 PAs.

“I give the kid a lot of credit,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies a few weeks into the latest big league run for Kieboom.

“Never gave up, and has worked extremely hard to get back to where he is, and I think that the strength in his swing and the bat speed and that type of thing is kind of evidence of an improvement since the surgery.”

Kieboom hit one of his doubles and three of his home runs in the first eight games back in the majors, showing some confidence that wasn’t necessarily there as he struggled in his previous opportunities.

“Whenever you’re going good, you’re feeling good about yourself,” Rizzo added. “Everything is better, and you walk into this thing, he hadn’t played in two years in the big leagues, and you walk in and you’re joining a really young, really good, really energy-based team, and it kind of ripples to you, and I think you’re seeing that. I think that they all have a little energy, a little kickstart in your step, and I think Carter’s no different. He knows a lot of these guys, and he’s been around them a long time, but still as a young [26]-year-old kid that really hasn’t gotten a long-term opportunity in the big leagues. It’s good to see him get off to a fast start, and hopefully he can take this through the rest of the season and then come into Spring Training with an opportunity and an outlook to be an everyday player for us.”

Around the same time, his manager talked about a more-confident Kieboom trying to really establish himself as part of the big league roster, and what was different this time around.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

“One, health,” Martinez said. “He’s been healthy enough to play, and that’s been good. And we’ve been monitoring that too, because he hasn’t played six or seven games in a row, but he’s hungry. And I really love that. His big thing, he’s working really hard to stay healthy. He’s doing the little things that we asked him to do behind the scenes as far as keeping his body intact. But he’s being aggressive. I love the fact that he’s really being aggressive up at the plate. He’s getting better with his footwork at third base, so the thing I worry about most is making sure that he bounces back and is ready to play the next day.

“So we’re definitely monitoring his workload right now, but he’s done really well since he’s been here, so that’s awesome. I’m proud of him. Because it’s never easy when you sit out that long. You come back and you feel like you’re good, and then you get hurt again. It’s a downer, but he’s fought to get back here and he’s doing everything he can to help us win.”

Kieboom was just 10 for 57 (.175/.254/.246) with a double, home run, six walks, and 21 Ks in 19 games and 63 PAs from September 1st to October 1st, finishing the season with another rough stretch at the plate.

Do you see Kieboom starting the season in the majors in 2024? Did he show enough over the final month and a half this year to warrant another opportunity in the majors?

Where do you see Kieboom fitting in going forward?