Nationals yet to conduct interviews for managerial job
Baker's agent contacts club to express interest for position vacated by Johnson
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still in the early stages of looking for a manager to replace Davey Johnson, who retired after the 2013 season.
A baseball source believes general manager Mike Rizzo will take his time on the decision, but Rizzo said during the final week of the season he would like a manager in place to help contribute to roster decisions. Rizzo was not available for comment on Friday.
According to multiple sources, the team has yet interview candidates such as Randy Knorr, Matt Williams or Cal Ripken Jr., who has said he would be open to managing, but not specifically for the Nationals. According to two baseball sources, Dusty Baker's agent, Greg Genske, told the Nationals that Baker would like the job.
Baker has the most experience of the above candidates. In his 20 years as a manager, Baker guided three teams (the Giants, Cubs and Reds) to the postseason and the Giants to the World Series in 2002. Baker's Reds lost the National League Wild Card Game this season to the Pirates and the 64-year-old was relieved of his duties a couple of days later.
Knorr is more than qualified for the job. The club's bench coach managed 11 of the Nationals on the Major League roster, including Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, in the Minor Leagues. Desmond has made it known he would like Knorr to be the manager.
In 2008, Knorr managed Class A Potomac to the Carolina League championship.
"It pretty evident that [our relationship] goes back a long time," Desmond said of Knorr. "He has been a tremendous influence on my career. For me to say anybody else but Randy would be a lie. That's who I want to see as manager of the ballclub."
Williams managed the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League last year. The Rafters lost in the finals. Anthony Rendon, who played third base for the Rafters, said he enjoyed playing for Williams.
"He is a great manager, from what I saw. He's more of a players' guy," Rendon said. "At the same time, he knows when to get on people. He doesn't raise his voice, but he gets his point through."
Ripken doesn't have any managerial experience. The Hall of Famer spent his entire career with the Orioles and played in a record 2,632 consecutive games.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.