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Williams: “Nobody’s spoken to me … at this point”

Oct 3, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT

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NEW YORK — In the wake of a report he’ll be fired at season’s end, Nationals manager Matt Williams said he has not yet been informed by club officials of any change in his status and that he intends to continue performing his job through this weekend’s final series before learning his fate.

“Nobody’s spoken to me about anything at this point,” Williams said prior to the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. “And, frankly, it’s not a concern of mine right now. We’ve got a guy that’s a potential MVP on our team, and we’ve got three games to play. That’s what I’m concentrating on. That’s what I know right now. As of today, I’ve got a job to do — a couple of times — and we’ll go from there.”

Williams’ job has been hanging in the balance for several weeks, more so since the Nationals officially were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, Jonathan Papelbon attacked Bryce Harper in the dugout during a game and several unflattering reports about Williams’ decision-making and player-communication skills were published.

On Friday, CBSsports.com reported Williams “will indeed be given his pink slip following the year.” Club sources said the decision has not yet been made and won’t be until the season is over.

Williams has attempted to stay above the fray over the last week, even as his reputation has been dragged through the mud, and he was adamant that won’t change.

“I personally feel that it is my job to be a calming force, as opposed to a disruptive one,” he said. “We have a lot of talented players on this team that I support, wholeheartedly, every single day. I will not stop doing that. Ever. Believe me when I tell you this. Ever stop doing this. So that being said, I’m not going to subject this team to any more distraction. There’s no reason for further distraction at this point. What’s important is that we finish this season as strong as we can finish. Beyond that, it’s noise.”

Williams wouldn’t divulge his plan to speak with club officials once the season ends Sunday.

“That’s between myself and management,” he said. “There’s conversations that happen every single day. We’ll keep that private to this point. Again, we’ve got three to play, and we’ve got a potential MVP on our team. This is not going to be a distraction anymore. It’s not. Bryce needs to play. Our guys need to finish strong. Max [Scherzer] is going to pitch again, needs to finish his season strong. So can Gio [Gonzalez]. So can Tanner [Roark]. That’s what we’re concerned about. To throw anything else out there is just not prudent. That’s not what we want to do at this point.”

  1. natsfan1a - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:21 PM

    Perhaps I’m the only one who will think so, but well said. There’s plenty of time for the denouement, and the circus, to play out. For today and tomorrow, it’s game(s) on! Go get ’em, Bryce! You, too, Gio! Focus, if you can, what with the rain and, um, other types of storms swirling around.

    • Scooter - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:50 PM

      I couldn’t agree with you more, 1a.

    • Section 222 - Oct 3, 2015 at 2:27 PM

      And well said, 1a. I hope MW will be fired, but there’s no point in beating him about the head and shoulders this weekend.

    • RoadApples - Oct 3, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      Well said with salient points. Agree.

    • NatsNut - Oct 3, 2015 at 4:37 PM

      I understand that Mark needs to ask the question, but if we could just leave Williams alone for the rest of the weekend, I’d be happy.

  2. shawndc04 - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Perhaps no one has indeed spoken to him, but that fact makes the silence even more deafening.

  3. lphboston - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    You’re not concerned about losing your job?
    Good grief, at least tell the truth.

  4. Drew - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    The Cal question is interesting only in that it raises the issue of whether a truly great player can be a great manager.

    Cobb, Hornsby, Ott, Boudreau, Teddy Ballgame and Frank Robby had rather nondescript managerial careers. To be fair, none had much talent aside from Hornsby with the Gas House Gang.

    Cronin did finish first twice as a skipper and Rose came in second five straight years.

    Aside from strategery (look up the SNL clip) there is the question of whether a great can relate to mere mortals.

    Remember what Rose told the young Reds at spring training:

    “I’m just like everybody else. I’ve got two arms, two legs – and 4,000 hits.”

    • Drew - Oct 3, 2015 at 12:43 PM

      Boudreau did win a title with Cleveland in 1948.

  5. Doc - Oct 3, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    Under the circumstances, what MW said was done with exceptional deliberation.

  6. glovehead - Oct 3, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    Mark, I know you have a job to do, but I don’t see the value of getting a comment from MW. Almost everything he says, on the record, is a big, fat nothingburger.

  7. hersheyman - Oct 3, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    Another bonehead move by Williams just now. Brings in Grace (L) to face Ganderson (L). Fine. Gets him to ground out. Good. Up comes Lagares (R), who’s 0-3 and a 257 hitter, so due for a hit. What dopes Williams do? Leaves in Grace, the lefty (who is not at all over-powering with a 90 mph sinker). Lagares singles and ties the game. Brings in the righty, Martin, after that, a batter too late. Way to go Williams. Sums you up perfectly.

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