When discussing the Nationals’ in-house managerial candidates over the last handful of weeks, the name that has most often been discussed has been Randy Knorr.
That’s with good reason. Knorr is very well-respected in the Nats’ clubhouse, has a lengthy history as a minor league manager within the organization and has spent time on the Nats’ big league coaching staff, most recently as the team’s bench coach.
When players were asked down the stretch, both on and off the record, who they would like to see become the Nationals’ next manager, taking over the job Davey Johnson is leaving vacant, the vast majority put their support behind Knorr.
Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Tyler Clippard - three of the longer-tenured guys within the organization - all fit into that category, saying that they would like to see the Nats stick with someone who knows the personalities in the clubhouse and can provide a sense of stability after the team won a division title in 2012 and had the best record in baseball over the final six weeks in 2013.
But there’s another legitimate in-house candidate for the position, one that shouldn’t be overlooked. That guy is third base coach Trent Jewett.
Over the weekend, ESPN’s Buster Olney cited a source as saying that Jewett “has an excellent shot to be the Nationals’ next manager.”
Like Knorr, Jewett is a former catcher. Like Knorr, Jewett is respected in the Nats’ clubhouse and well-liked by many players. Like Knorr, Jewett knows some of those players from his time managing at the minor league level within the organization.
Jewett skippered Single-A Potomac in 2009 and Triple-A Syracuse in 2010.
He’ll certainly get a shot to interview for the position this offseason, as he did all the way back after the 2006 season, when the Nationals were looking to find a replacement for Frank Robinson.
Jewett has been on the Nationals’ big league coaching staff for the last three seasons, serving as third base coach last season after two years as the team’s first base coach.
He’s spent 17 seasons as a minor league manager, 12 of which came at the Triple-A level. He’s got the experience, and he knows the Nationals’ talent well.
Hours before pretty much every game, you can find Jewett in the Nats’ dugout or somewhere along the railing down one of the baselines, having a lengthy conversation with Desmond. The two men find a seat and talk shop, quietly going over things they might’ve seen in the previous day’s game, what to expect that night or just talking about things not related to baseball altogether.
It’s possible that general manager Mike Rizzo is looking for an internal candidate for the managerial position, someone with experience in D.C., who the players trust and feel comfortable with.
If that’s the case, he doesn’t just have Knorr to look at, but also Jewett, someone who maybe hasn’t gotten as much publicity recently, but will get a shot to interview and could wind up landing the managerial gig.