For now Davey Johnson remains the Washington Nationals manager, but with him set to retire following the 2013 season, soon it will be time for General Manager Mike Rizzo to look for his replacement. Let’s look at a few potential candidates.
1. Randy Knorr– Currently, Knorr is the Nationals bench coach. However, he has had managerial experience in the past as he managed the Syracuse Sky Chiefs in 2011 and the Potomac Nationals in 2008. In the case of a Davey Johnson ejection, Knorr serves as acting manager. After Johnson’s first ejection of the year, Knorr pulled Rafael Soriano after putting the tying runner on base, an usual move considering Soriano is the team’s closer. This move may provide insight into Knorr’s tendencies if he is in fact elected manager for 2014 and beyond.
2. Trent Jewett – Jewett would also be an in house selection as he is now serving as the Nationals third base coach. It would seem as if Knorr would be the favorite if the Nationals do decide to look with the organization, but Jewett is a possible candidate. Before joining his current organization Jewett managed the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A team of the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 2005-2008. Also, he managed the Potomac Nationals in 2009 and Syracuse Sky Chiefs in 2010 and seems to have enough experience and ability to manage a big league club.
3. Charlie Manuel – A decision to hire Manuel would be regarded as a surprising, but popular, decision with the team’s current players. Jayson Werth played under Charlie Manuel in Philadelphia before coming to Washington and called him “the best manager he has ever played for”. If Manuel does decide to manage again, Washington would seem to be one of his preferred destinations as he grew up and lives in Buena Vista, Virginia. Due to his age, however, (Manuel will be 70 by the start of next year) Manuel would seem to be a stretch at this point.
4. Ray Knight – Another stretch selection would be current Nats Xtra commentator Ray Knight. Due to his obligations doing a Nationals pre and post game show as it is, Knight would not need to move anywhere but down to field level to manage. Interestingly, Knight replaced Davey Johnson as manager of the Cincinnati Reds after the 1995 season and managed them in 1996 and ’97. During his time as manager Knight struggled to win games, but always held himself accountable. A hire of Knight would be a shock and a risky selection but could pay dividends in the end.
5. Cal Ripken Jr. – Since his retirement from the MLB in 2001 Ripken has been out of professional baseball, choosing to spend his time with his family and work on his Ripken Baseball foundation. Now that his kids have graduated high school and are out of the house, Ripken has admitted a desire to return to Major League Baseball in some capacity. The managerial position with Washington would be a good fit as he knows the roster, the Lerners (the Nationals owners), and Mike Rizzo well. Also, he would not have to travel far from his home in Aberdeen, Maryland to Nationals Park. Ripken has a deep baseball knowledge and would seem to be able to land a position as manager in the near future if he desires.
My Prediction for 2014 Washington Nationals Manager: Cal Ripken Jr.