|We need to see this headline
Matt Williams Fired*
*That could be the headline very soon.
To say that the Nats’ season has been a disappointment would be an understatement. A while back we wrote a post (There’s always a silver lining!) that casually referenced this idea.
But first, let’s review the series with the Mets as the results illustrate almost perfectly why a new manager is needed. In each game Matt Williams made a my checklist says do X decision instead of reacting to the game situation. Admittedly, one or more of the players made mistakes. But the main job of the manager is very simple – make sound in-game decisions. Williams has a history of not being able to do that.
But we now have to get serious about the Nats, and many times changes begin near the top. So here goes the list of reasons to fire him and a list of reasons to keep him. And we will update both of these lists based on your comments and feedback.
Let’s start with the reasons to keep him. And reasons 5-7 are not serious. But a list with just not his fault items is, well, cruel (even if true).
- The injuries aren’t his fault.
- Not all of the BP failures are his fault.
- Players not executing basic plays aren’t his fault
- Personnel in his bullpen are not his fault (we have that in Rizzo’s column)
- He gives great token answers in press conferences (yea, I am being sarcastic here).
- He was the MOY last year. He can’t be that bad.
- Mike Rizzo likes him.
Now a short list of the reasons he has to go.
- Any shot to salvage the season needs a shake-up. With the exception of the Marlins making their GM the manager, such shake-ups quite often result in winning streaks.
- You have two clearly quantified candidates who know the team really well and could start tonight:
- Randy Knorr
- Ray Knight
- It sends a message to the team and the fans that you care as much as we do.
- It seems pretty clear that that a key player for the future of the Nats is not a big fan of Williams. Not saying he would leave when he is a FA because of MW, but he clearly won’t stay because of him.
- Questionable in-game strategy. He manages by checklists it would seem. And yes, he has changed his checklist lately (doing more lefty/righty matchups). But he seems to not adapt to what is going on in the game to decide which checklist to use. Here is a very rough initial list of recent decisions he has made that were simply indefensible.
- Pulling Strasburg who had struck out Cespedes twice so Storen who gave up a double to Cespedes yesterday could pitch to him. The outcome: Cespedes goes yard with a man on. Two runs and the Nats are now losing.
- Bunting Rendon with no outs, a runner on first in the bottom of the 9th on Sept 8? and keep the bunt “on” in a 3-1 count? Are you kidding me? Really dumb move, especially considering that even if it works, the Mets simply walk Harper. And only 5 players in all of MLB have GIDP’ed more times than Yunel, both in terms of absolute number of GIDPs and percentage of PAs with an opportunity to GIDP.
- He also once had Dan Uggla bunt and he was less comfortable than Rendon. Was he expecting the “lucky” result from Game 3 last year when Ramos bunted and Bumgarner threw the ball away? Players who are asked to bunt must be comfortable doing it. Case in point is that some of the Nats pitchers at times haven’t looked comfortable bunting, and hence, not successful.
- Not PHing for Scherzer in the 5th on Sept 7 when he was clearly gassed and you had 2 runners in scoring position standing on 3rd and 2nd.
- Letting Storen face CarGo with the bases loaded on August 7th when everyone could see he was not the Storen we remember from the beginning of the season, and he has lousy splits against lefties, and Rivero was ready.
- As sec112 commented, giving Escobar a green light on 3-0 with the bases loaded when the pitcher was having trouble throwing strikes. He hits into a DP – something he does a lot as mentioned above.
- He angered the Baseball Gods by failing to fulfill his promise to do a Babe Ruth HR trot :-(.
And that is just recent history. Don’t want to think about the playoffs last year.
We are not alone in suggesting this could happen:
- Jim Bowden in the only the way Jim Bowden can do it, has a bold proclamation on his MLB Network Radio show on Wednesday: Matt Williams will be fired on October 5th of 2015
- Tom Verducci referred to last night’s game as the kind they chisel into the tombstones of seasons and managerial careers.
- Barry Svrluga said The Nationals’ season died Tuesday night
- and more . . . .