Nationals set to hire Matt Williams as manager

The Washington Nationals are planning to hire Matt Williams as their next manager with the goal of keeping Randy Knorr as bench coach, sources told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Williams, who played for three teams during his 17-year career and hit 378 homers, has coached for the Diamondbacks the past four seasons. He would take over for Davey Johnson, who retired after last season.

The Nationals didn’t live up to expectations last season, finishing 10 games out of first in the National League East.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has known Williams since serving as the Diamondbacks’ director of scouting when Williams was finishing his playing career in Arizona.

The hiring is not likely to be officially announced until after the World Series, but Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick texted this response to FOX Sports Arizona when when asked to comment about Williams’ departure: “Very happy for him. He’s had a great history with us. He

has outstanding leadership qualities.”

Williams played the final six seasons of his major-league career in Arizona and drove in 142 runs in 1999.

Williams was a finalist for the Colorado managerial opening last year that went to Walt Weiss, and he also interviewed for Toronto’s managerial position.

The loss of Williams means Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson will have to replace at least four members of his coaching staff. Hitting coach Don Baylor left for a similar position with the Angels, while pitching coach Charles Nagy and first-base coach Steve Sax were fired at the end of the season.

The remaining coaches on Gibson’s staff are bench coach Alan Trammell, who could be shifted to third-base coach, bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock and assistant hitting coach Turner Ward.