After a disappointing 2015 season, the Washington Nationals have decided to part ways with manager Matt Williams after a two year tenure with the club, according to the Washington Post.
There were high expectations in the nation’s capital, but they weren’t reached at all as the Nationals didn’t make the postseason, limping to an 83-79 record finishing second in the National League East. They went out and signed some big free agents (including Max Scherzer), but even with a $164 million payroll they were still unable to reach the postseason.
Williams was the NL Manager of the Year after an NL East crown just a season ago in 2014, winning 96 games. The team exercised an option for 2016, but that will not be used as they are moving in a different direction.
Although there were injuries, roster holes, and players who under-performed, a good amount of the blame has to be put on Williams.
The 49-year-old succeeded Davey Johnson with no managerial experience, but GM Mike Rizzo thought he was the man for the job. Two years later, that doesn’t seem like that is the case anymore. Rizzo publicly backed Williams, but after a rough season, a move had to be made.
Following Sunday’s game in New York, Rizzo said that the team would make a quick decision on his future.
“We’ll get all of our baseball operations people together, and we’ll begin the process of sorting out what went right, what went wrong, what we need, and what we need to do to go forward to become the championship organization that the Washington fanbase deserves,” Rizzo said Sunday.
Some of the biggest questions came with Williams’ leadership qualities and in-game strategy. His management of the bullpen came under much scrutiny, and while the recent scuffle between Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon probably wasn’t Williams’ fault, he ultimately is the man in charge.
As of late, Williams came under much fire and this move may not come as too much of a surprise to some.
Whoever takes over this team as manager has some solid pieces in place and immediate success could be possible in 2016 for the Nationals.