Rizzo has every reason to go outside the organization after the mass underachievement of a club that wilted under World Series aspirations.
There are good names available like Matt Williams and Jay Bell, both of whom worked with Rizzo in Arizona. Charlie Manuel was just let go by the Phillies. He might seem like your average retread, but at 69 he is still as competitive and feisty as anyone in baseball.
Don Mattingly’s bench coach, Trey Hillman, is most likely going to be contacted by clubs in October. And there is no bigger name than Cal Ripken Jr., who indicated this month he hasn’t ruled out working in a Major League dugout.
But before the Nationals’ general manager makes his decision, he needs to hear out some of his players. Many of them want to stay in-house. Many prefer Randy Knorr, Davey Johnson’s bench coach for the past two years. Knorr has managed six seasons in the club’s minor league system since 2005. They also don’t want to see Trent Jewett, the team’s third base coach, go anywhere.
Now, you’re probably thinking, Why do underachieving players scrapping for a .500 season have any say in their next manager?
Still, they make good points:
“Having a guy from within the organization would be good, a guy that knows all the players,” Jordan Zimmermann said recently. “Instead of bringing a guy in, and that guy’s got to start learning what everyone likes to do. If you bring a guy in that’s already here, he knows what the players like to do before a game, stuff like that.”
Added Tyler Clippard, the team’s most consistent reliever this season: “It’s one of the things where I’m glad it’s not my decision. But, at the same time, I think it’s best if you have a guy that knows the ins and outs of the organization and knows what we’re trying to do. I think that helps.
“I love Randy Knorr. I love Trent. I love Cat [pitching coach Steve McCatty] and Schu [hitting coach Rick Schu]. It would definitely be an easier transition if somebody is part of the group, part of the organization — and has been for a long time.”
Ryan Zimmerman was more open to bringing in a new voice. But the nine-year veteran also dismissed the notion that a new manager is going to be a miracle worker on a team that won 98 games a year ago.
“Obviously all of us are familiar with those guys,” Zimmerman said. “More than that, even when [hitting coach] Rick [Eckstein] got fired, I’ve said the failures of this team, us not playing good, has nothing to do with the coaches in that room. They give us everything we need to succeed. It’s up to us to go out in the field and do it.