The Nationals finalized their 2012 field staff by naming former Class AAA Syracuse Manager Randy Knorr as bench coach, a position that makes Knorr a candidate to become Manager Davey Johnson’s successor.

Knorr, 43, has been with the organization since 2001, when he played catcher for the Montreal Expos. After playing for three more years in the minor leagues, Knorr became a coach. Since then, he has served as the bullpen coach in 2008 and 2009 and managed both Class AA Harrisburg and Syracuse.

Knorr spent the month of September with the Nationals and helped Johnson get to know the young players on the roster, almost all of whom he has managed in the minor leagues.

Knorr’s experience in the minor leagues with the Nationals young core makes him a compelling possible heir to Johnson, who is 69 and signed through 2013. General Manager Mike Rizzo said yesterday he wants Johnson’s successor to come from the current coaching staff to perpetuate “the Nationals’ way of doing things.”

Rizzo also mentioned coaches Trent Jewett, Bo Porter and Rick Eckstein as potential candidates to become the next manager.

The Nationals will officially keep the rest of their coaching staff as is – Jewett at first base, Porter at third, Eckstein as hitting coach, Steve McCatty as pitching coach and Jim Lett as bullpen coach.

John McLaren began 2011 as the Nationals’ bench coach but became a scout following the resignation of Jim Riggleman, his close friend. Pat Corrales took over as bench coach when Johnson became the manager, and he has since returned to his position as a front office special assistant with a focus on player development.

Johnson said yesterday the bench coach would be “Mike’s call,” but he also preferred the coach come from within the organization and vouched for Knorr.