Now that the World Series is over, the Nationals can make it official: Matt Williams has been hired as their new manager.
Williams, 47, becomes the fifth full-time manager in Nationals history. The team made the announcement late this morning, and Williams will meet with the media tomorrow afternoon during a 2 p.m. press conference that will be televised live on MASN HD.
“I feel privileged and honored to be a part of this team,” Williams said in a statement. “It’s a wonderful group of guys and a great organization. I’m simply here to help take us to the next level.”
A five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger award winner and four-time Gold Glove award recipient at third base, Williams played 17 seasons in the big leagues, suiting up for the Diamondbacks (1998-03), Indians (1997) and Giants (1987-96).
He has spent the last four years on the Diamondbacks’ coaching staff, serving one year as first base coach and the last three years as third base coach. This will be Williams’ first big league managerial job.
“I could not be more pleased to welcome Matt Williams and his family to the Nationals and the Nation’s Capital,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “In some ways, my interview with Matt began during our days together in Arizona, where his undeniable toughness, attention to detail and intensity established a foundation for a Diamondbacks expansion franchise that reached the postseason in its second season and won a World Series two years later.
“All these years later, Matt’s preparedness for this position, knowledge of our roster, system and league set him apart. He is a fierce competitor with a progressive view of the game.”
Rizzo was the scouting director in Arizona when Williams was a player there.
Williams was chosen over a handful of other candidates, including Randy Knorr, who is expected to return as Nationals bench coach, third base coach Trent Jewett, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus and Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale.
“Matt has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a former player and coach,” said Theodore N. Lerner, managing principal owner of the Nationals. “But what most impresses us is his ability to understand and ably communicate situations and strategies in a disciplined, forthright manner. We think he is the right leader for a Washington Nationals team ready to compete for a World Series championship.”