While the Nationals remain silent about their managerial search, one detail emerged tonight. The Nationals will interview longtime major league catcher and current San Diego Padres front office assistant Brad Ausmus, according to people familiar with the situation. Fox Sports first reported Ausmus would interview.
Ausmus had been circulating as a possibility since the end of the regular season. The Nationals reached out to the Padres last week to ask permission to interview Ausmus, a person close to the situation said.
Ausmus, 44, has been considered a future manager since his playing days. He spent his 18-year career with four teams, including eight consecutive years with the Houston Astros. After Ausmus concluded his playing career with the Dodgers in 2010, he joined the front office of the Padres, the team with which he began his career.
Ausmus gained managerial experience last fall when he manager Israel’s World Baseball Classic entry in the qualifying rounds. Israel failed to make it out of their pool and into the 2013 WBC tournament.
Ausmus, a native of Connecticut who attended Dartmouth College, has long had the reputation of a brainy player. In 2009, then-Dodgers Manager Joe Torre told the Hartford Courant there was “no question” Ausmus could be a future major league manager.
As of late last week, the Nationals had not interviewed any candidates in the search to replace Davey Johnson, whom the team announced last winter would not remain in the dugout past the 2013 season.
The top two internal candidates – bench coach Randy Knorr and third base coach Trent Jewett – also spent their playing careers as catchers. Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams, who has ties to Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo from their days when Rizzo was Arizona’s scouting director and Williams played third base, is also considered a strong candidate.