Nationals Fires Entire Coaching Staff


per Creative Commons License: ShashiBellamkonda

Nationals Park will light up again with a whole new coaching staff

Jaime Segui '17, Staff Writer

After a 96-66 season for the Nationals in 2014, the decision of signing former player Matt Williams as manager  looked promising. This was Williams’ first year coaching, he also won the National League’s Manager of the Year Award (MOY) that year. But it didn’t take long until it turned south. They signed Max Scherzer to a seven-year 210 million contract during the offseason. They also added position players like Yunel Escobar and Clint Robinson. At the beginning of this season, the Nationals were ranked no.1 in the MLB, being the favorites to win the World Series.

The promise of Matt Williams didn’t deliver. The team undoubtedly underachieved, but it can easily be blamed by the Nats’ bullpen and the injuries. The Nats began the season without their lead-off hitter Denard Span, their third baseman Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth kept moving off and on the disabled list. Almost every player went into the DL, whether it was day to day or 60-day DL.

Experts say the big problem was inside the clubhouse: team chemistry. It all traces back to Matt Williams.

While the Nats’ didn’t have a great bullpen, Williams always seemed to put the wrong guy out there. During important games he either bunted at the wrong time or didn’t bunt when the time was right.

How did Matt Williams go from MOY in 2014 to being fired as manager in just one year? He didn’t handle games and team situations like a veteran solid manager. The beginning of the end was the Papelbon-Harper incident. Harper hit a lousy fly-ball and didn’t hustle to first. Harper, while going into the dugout, was criticized by Papelbon for not hustling to first-base. Papelbon choked Harper and slammed him against the wall. How did Matt Williams not notice what was happening? Why did he pitch Papelbon in the ninth inning after the whole incident? These are the unanswered questions still lingering.

The day after the Nationals season ended, Matt Williams’ era was over. According to the Washington Post, Mike Rizzo, the GM, told the press, “There’s not one single incident that was the tipping point of making a decision with Matt Williams. Like I said during the season, we’re gonna take his whole body of work into consideration and make a decision based on that, based on what was best for the organization moving forward.”

Who will be manager, now? Who will the Nats sign to manage this team? Cal Ripken is one of the popular names being batted around. With names like Bud Black, former San Diego’s manager, Ron Gardenhire, and Dusty Baker, no one knows for sure.

The Nationals are still one of the favorites to win it all in 2016.