The move was an expected one, and eliminates any concern that the reigning National League Manager of the Year would transform into a lame duck in a season in which his team is the odds-on World Series favorite. That was a remote possibility, particularly given Williams led Washington to a National League East Division Title by a 17-game margin, and the best record in the National League last season.
“I’m excited,” Williams said. “I’m excited to be a part of the organization and the fact that it got picked up I’m honored to have that done. The organization is fantastic and have supported all of us since the day I arrived here. They continue to do so. I’m very pleased and excited for spring and beyond.”
Williams was the fourth first-year manager in baseball history to win manager of the year. General Manager Mike Rizzo said it was important to pick up Williams’ 2016 option before the season began.
“We want him to be around,” Rizzo said in the afternoon. “He’s a good manager and gives us some stability and shows how much we think he’s capable of leading us to where we want to go. … It’s always good to know the manager’s going to be around for awhile. He certainly has earned that right. I think the players respect him greatly and he’s been a great leader for the organization.”
The Nationals broached the idea of an extension with Williams but no terms or specifics were discussed, according to a person familiar with the situation. From the top of the organization to Rizzo, they are happy with Williams’ leadership and the chemistry between them all. Guaranteeing another year of Williams’ contract felt like a foregone conclusion after the success the Nationals enjoyed in 2014. An extension, however, would be a bigger reward.