Nationals manager Williams unsure about status for 2016 season
Matt Williams thumped his hands on a desk once, twice for emphasis.
"This is not going to be a distraction any more," the Washington Nationals manager said. "It’s not."
With speculation swirling that he’ll soon be out of a job after a tough season, Williams said he hasn’t talked to team management about his status for 2016.
"Nobody’s spoken to me about anything," he said in his office before Saturday’s doubleheader against the New York Mets. "Frankly, it’s not a concern of mine."
"We’ll see what the future holds," he said.
The Nationals started the year as World Series favorites in many circles. They began the final weekend of the season at 81-78 and eliminated from playoff contention, eight games behind the NL East champion Mets.
The Nats led the division for much of the year before a second-half slide that included a recent dugout fight between MVP candidate Bryce Harper and closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Williams had said he wasn’t fully aware of what occurred in the bench brawl. He has declined to elaborate on that situation or his own future.
"I’m not going to subject this team to any more distractions," he said. His added that his role was to "be a calming force, rather than a disruptive one."
Williams was the NL Manager of the Year last season in his first year on the job. In February, the Nationals picked up the option on his contract for 2016. His contract also includes a team option for 2017.
A month shy of his 50th birthday, Williams was a hard-nosed, All-Star third baseman during a 17-year career. In his first season as a manager, the Nationals won the division by a wide margin, then lost to San Francisco in four games in the Division Series.
The Nationals added high-priced Max Scherzer in the offseason to an impressive rotation that included Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. Despite the promise of that pitching, Washington’s starters didn’t dominate.
"I think there were some hiccups along the way," Williams said.