1.) A new, player-friendly manager — how about Don Mattingly?
Matt Williams clearly lost the locker room down the stretch. His old school style of managing, and inability to manage late and close situations did him in. He sat by clueless as Jonathan Papelbon choked out Harper, and then sent Papelbon back out to pitch the next inning. That’s a clear sign you’re out of your depth as a big league skipper. Luckily for the Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers have done them a huge favor by never fully embracing Don Mattingly and leaving him feeling uncomfortable about his future with the team.
Mattingly is, in my opinion, the best choice to take over in DC. Early in his career, his bullpen tactics were questionable, but he’s shown improvement every year. He got a cobbled together lineup and pitching staff into the playoffs yet again. Managers with a $310 million roster are not supposed to have to scramble to fill out a lineup card or deal with constant headaches from the bullpen. What’s more, the Dodgers front office left Mattingly with a ton of headaches in the form of aging outfield stars and not enough at-bats or innings to go around. He handled the playing time crunch with aplomb, and did his best to make a relationship work with Yasiel Puig. Making nice with Bryce Harper should be a walk in the park compared to Puig.
The Nationals want a manager with big league experience, and Mattingly should resonate with the clubhouse. The Dodgers loss will be the Nationals gain in the long run.