Washington's Nuclear Option

September 9, 2015
 
A few points before I get to the main subject of this article.  
 
-           I’m not a Washington Nationals fan. I don't have a strong interest in many of Nationals player. I think some of them are terrific, of course, but for whatever reason I’ve never cultivated any affinity for the Washington squad. I like Scherzer, and Harper’s the NL MVP, but otherwise…meh. I don’t go out of my way to watch the team, and I don’t know any Nats fans…I know a lot of Expos fans, but that didn’t carry over. I’m pretty ambivalent about the city of Washington D.C. I think 'Natitude' is the single stupidest phrase any sports team has laid claim to. 
 
-          On the other hand, I really love the Mets, and I want them to win the NL East this year. I’m rooting for them because Mets fans are terrific fans, the best in baseball. I want them to win because they’re the underdog in the East: everyone expected the Nats to run away with division, and it’s fun to cheer for an upset. I’m pulling for them because they were my ‘surprise’ team at the start of the year, and it’s nice when that article works out. And I'm rooting for the Mets because I’ve watched a lot of their games this season, and I feel a little invested in them. 
 
So I have a rooting interest in the NL East. Just getting that bias out. Two more points:
 
-          I generally think that firing a manager mid-season is a mistake, and should be avoided. There’s very little gained by switching helmsmen mid-season, and it is an act that reflects poorly on the organization doing the firing. You hired the guy: you should have the decency to stand by your decision until the season plays out.
 
-          I think it’s never useful to ‘blame’ a manger on a team’s failures.  It’s very difficult to know how a manager is perceived by the team he is managing, and it is difficult to assess with any accuracy how effective or ineffective a manager really is. Even measuring them by the stuff we can see, like bullpen usage (or misusage), or lineup construction, or a tendency to stick with veterans or give kids a long leash…even that stuff is part of a much wider tapestry of the things a manager is juggling. It’s a tough job.*
 
So there’s that, too. Managing is hard work, and there are a lot of moving parts to what they do. I wouldn’t want to criticize any manager too harshly, because I would inevitably be targeting one or two facets of their job that I could see, while ignoring seven thousand other ones that I couldn’t.
 
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my thesis:
 
The Nationals should fire Matt Williams.
 
They should fire him tonight, while he’s still in the clubhouse. The GM or the President, or whichever temp is currently tasked with telling people to pack up their stuff…that guy or gal should tell Matt Williams that his services, while appreciated, are no longer needed by the Nationals. Someone else is going to fill in the lineup card tomorrow.
 
I am not advocating this position because of anything specific Matt Williams has done. While I have found a lot of his recent in-game decisions inscrutable (why did he have Rendon bunting with no outs, a not-very-fast runner on first, and Bryce Harper coming up in the bottom of the 9th tonight? Why give up an out there?) And I am not advocating this because of Williams’s recent comments about Papelbon and the proper usage of a closer.
 
I am not even advocating that the Nationals fire Matt Williams because of the general gap between where everyone thought the Nationals would be, and where they currently are. There is a gap, but it is entirely possible that the gap is due to injuries, unexpectedly poor performances from certain players, or plum bad luck. And it doesn’t really matter.
 
What matters is where the Nationals stand now, and where they need to be to call the 2015 a successful one.
 
Right now, the Nationals are 6 games behind the Mets. They have played 138 games, which gives them twenty-four games to save their season. Four of those games are against the Mets, including the final three games of the season.
 
If the Mets play .500 baseball, the Nationals would have to go 18-6 down the stretch, just to get into a one-game playoff for the NL East. If the Mets go 14-10, the Nationals have to win 20 out of 24. That’s….unlikely.
 
But if the Mets slip a bit….if they go 10-14 down the stretch….the Nationals would have to go 16-8 down the stretch. Essentially, they’d have to win every series. That’s still tough, but it’s not impossible.
 
We can put this in more mathematical terms. FanGraphs have kindly run the math on the standings: by their calculations the Nationals have a 9.3% chance of winning the NL East (it’s worth noting that they also have a 0.3% chance of winning the Wild Card).
 
That isn’t too bad: it’s a little better to be chasing a division lead than it is to be chasing one of the Wild Card spots. Explaining this with a real example: the Twins are a measly 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, but their odds of winning the World Series are at 0.2% The Nationals are 6.0 games back, but because they’re shooting for the division lead, their odds at winning the World Series are 1.4%, much better than Minnesota’s chances.
 
So why should the Nationals fire Matt Williams?
 
Because it’s the only substantial thing they can do.
 
The trade deadline is over, so there’s no chance to improve their odds by trying to acquire better players. There’s the waiver wire, but anyone available there would probably a) cost an unpleasant amount of future money, and b) not move the needle on their chances a whole helluva lot. It’s unlikely that they’ll get better players than they currently have.
 
They can’t do anything else on the field: they can’t blow up their lineup or their rotation. They can’t ask Bryce Harper to pitch or see if Strasburg is willing to play second base. They can’t decide, this late in the season, to incorporate a bunch of zany defensive shifts, or start running wild on the bases. They’re the team they are, at least until the season is over.
 
So what’s left? The guy pulling the levers. The guy who is connected to all of the individual parts of the team.  
 
As I said earlier, the relationship that a manager has with his team is complicated: it is drastically more complicated than any of us can imagine. I sometimes lose sleep thinking about all of the things a major-league catcher has to do from one game to the next, but a manager’s job is exponentially more complicated, at least analytically, than a catcher’s job.  
 
Because the job is so complicated, and because the strands of responsibilities and relationships are impossible for an outsider to make more than a fleeting guess at, it is difficult to predict how the Nationals would react to Matt Williams getting fired. Certainly, some players would be happy about it, and play better. And some players might be pissed, and see their play suffer.
 
And the opposite is just as likely: the happy players on the Nats might play poorly, and the pissed-off guys might break out. Humans are complicated and unpredictable. We contain multitudes, as a poet once poet’d.
 
At the very least, changing the manager would change the team. That change could go exceedingly well: I can still remember the excitement of the 1988 Red Sox, a lackluster team that won 12 straight games after Turnpike Joe Morgan replaced John McNamara. And it could go poorly, as it has for numerous interim managers.
 
One asset to having a manager is that they give you an emergency rip-cord to pull on when things are going badly. No one talks about this, and teams seldom use managers in this way (for good reason), but it’s absolutely true that the act of firing a manager is one of the few last-ditch ways an organization can re-jigger the strange group of athletes and individuals that make up a team. The manager is the when-all-else-fails button: press it and the team can blow everything up and pray that the pieces fall right.
 
Good organizations know not to press this button too much. The Red Sox didn’t fire Bobby Valentine until the season was over in 2012 because there was no reason to do it: hiring a new manager wasn’t going to pull them out of the tailspin they were in, and there was no reason to force an interim manager to suffer through a temp gig.
 
But the Nationals find themselves in the rare position where there is a clear benefit to pulling the rip-cord. They’ve just suffered two brutal loses to the team they’re chasing. Their fans are quitting on them, and the players on the field are starting to show a bit of strain. But they still have a shot…they still have a 10% chance of making the postseason. And there’s still time: there are twenty-four games left on the schedule to right a season that’s gone badly wrong. They finish the year with three games against the Mets, which means that they only have to close the gap to three for those last games to matter. They’re not dead….they’re just playing like it.
 
I have no idea if Matt Williams is a good manager or a bad one. I’m sure he’s a decent guy, and I want to be clear that my argument isn’t a judgement on anything he’s done or not done. It’s purely a game-theory decision: the one drastic thing that the Nationals can still do this season is fire their manager, and hope the team gels under whatever atmosphere the new guy brings to the clubhouse. That’s the one clearly proactive thing they can do…that’s the one action they can take that has a chance - albeit a small one - to significantly improve their team.
 
Otherwise, they can continue playing their currently listless brand of baseball, and cross their fingers that the Mets stumble down the stretch. They can wait it out until that 9.3% ticks downward every day, and then the team can figure out a way forward during the offseason.
 
As a bandwagoning Mets fan, I hope the Nats do that. I’d be very happy if the Nationals ease up and let the orange-and-blue take the division early, so that they can get their pitchers rested for a long postseason push.  
 
But if it was me….if I was making the decisions for the Nationals, I’d do something. Nine-point-three percent isn’t a lot, but it’s not nothing, either. You have twenty-four game, Washington.
 
David Fleming is a writer living in Wellington, New Zealand. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions here and at dfleming1986@yahoo.com 
 
 

COMMENTS (29 Comments, most recent shown first)

flyingfish
Marisfan61: Your comment brings to mind something Casey Stern said on MLB Network Radio a while ago to a Mets fan who had called in. He said Mets fans are the most irrational fans of all 30 teams; they might even be 31st.
10:05 AM Sep 19th
 
Marc Schneider
My apologies for assuming that sdbunting was male. But, that is typically the default assumption. I'm trying to stay away from making stereotypical assumptions, but it may be that males are more prone to look for explanations that imply control; ie, if something goes wrong, there must be a reason. It's much easier to use the manager as an excuse; it gives the illusion of control. Well, if we just fire the manager, things will change. There is also, perhaps, the idea, again possibly more prevalent among males, that, if I were in that guy's place, I could do a better job. Maybe this is a remnant of our hunter-gatherer days, when men had to make quick, often unreasoned decisions to stay alive.​
12:00 PM Sep 16th
 
MarisFan61
Hopefully, :sarcasm: is being implied. :-)
4:02 PM Sep 14th
 
OldBackstop
Yikes! A g..g..girl !! (throws up on keyboard)
3:01 PM Sep 14th
 
MarisFan61
Wow!
And, as usual, what I'm reacting to is basically off the subject. :ha:

Is this the first time we've had a female on the site, or at least that we've known it's a female?

I've wondered (and I think I've written it once or twice) .....wondered why it is that our site is so uniformly male. There may have never been a post by a female in Reader Posts. I can think of a number of reasons why sabermetrics draws mostly males, and why our site does and why the somewhat argumentative venue of Reader Posts might do it even more so :-) .....but so predominantly or even uniformly?

Back to the subject (sort of): I can understand if females are more likely to have seen Terry Collins as a decent or good manager, because it's a reasoned view. Pardon the possible reverse sexism, but, my impression is that male fans, contrary to usual stereotypes of hysteria and emotion, tend to be more extreme and emotional in their views of managers, and female fans tend to be more measured. Despite what I said in my comment about Collins, my impression of him has been completely what Sdbunting said: at least decent and perhaps very good, consistently in all prior years keeping the Met performance respectable for a large portion of every season despite lack of material, and topping it off with this year even before the late-July infusion. I've been able to be perhaps more measured than most Met fans because I'm not really a Met fan, plus in general I hesitate to judge MLB managers negatively because I pretty much assume that in order to have reached that position these days, they've got to be pretty darn good on all the things that are needed in the job -- and I think the belief is justified.
2:39 PM Sep 13th
 
sdbunting
"he should have read "Mets Blog" last year; there wasn't a commenter on there who thought Collins was anything more than a boob"

(She.) After the agita surrounding Randolph's dismissal, I've tended to avoid team-specific baseball blogs, so I sit corrected. Again, though: not sure what an agreed-upon-genius skipper (Bochy, maybe?) could have done better with the same personnel.

I should have noted in my previous comment that the handling of Storen *generally* of late (now irrelevant thanks to his broken thumb, and I have to salute him for removing himself in such a definitively Kevin Brownian fashion from the conversation) is on Rizzo, but that specific game was disastrously pathetic and Williams's failure to remove him on grounds of mercy is on Williams...

...and that, well before any of this and in fact prior to the All-Star break the Nats were already looking like...well, not a disappointment, but a puzzlement. The New York "offense" put us all in the position of celebrating a two-run inning as a major accomplishment *for the calendar week*, yet the Nationals hadn't opened up a double-digit lead on us by, like, June. Yes, there were injuries, but the Mets had those too; the Nats and their fan base seemed to exist in this weird fairytale dimension where Denard Span, bless his heart, was the answer to all their problems, and once he came off the DL to kiss the princess (this metaphor got away from me; enjoy!), they'd get it together and never look back. I didn't get it in the spring when we had a hangnail of a lead; I didn't get it in mid-July when we were still in striking distance, somehow; I don't quite get it now. The problem is probably a greater-than-the-sum thing.

Whatever it is, I don't think it's Williams's day-to-day decisions. It could be. My issue with him is that one specific instance when any Little League in the land would have yanked his pitcher two batters ago and Williams just sat there like the bullpen is a punchcard-computer affair.
9:01 AM Sep 13th
 
Marc Schneider
Lots of teams win with bad managers. As to the commenter who said he could not find a Mets fan who thought Collins was terrible, he should have read "Mets Blog" last year; there wasn't a commenter on there who thought Collins was anything more than a boob. The fact is, fan bases always hate the manager if the team is losing, even if the they realize the players are not very good. But good players will win even with a lousy manager; it's amazing how much better Collins looks with Harvey, DeGrom, Synergaard, in the rotation and Cespedes in the outfield.

I don't think the Nats are losing because of Williams but he arguably has cost them a few games. But he probably did the same last year when they won 96 games. (And, of course, the most obvious was the playoff game when he lifted Zimmermann for Storen, although I think that was a defensible decision.) They have had lots of injuries, the rotation has been must less than expected (in particular, Scherzer has pitched like a 5th starter since the All-Star break) and the bullpen is lousy. Maybe a better manager could have overcome some of that, but the fact is, the Nats were in first place in late July despite a lot of injuries and poor performance. With their injured players coming back, they could reasonably have expected to go on a roll. It didn't happen and some, but not all of it, might be Williams' fault, but you can only put the players you have out there. The fact is, if Scherzer was pitching the way he pitched in the first half, they might still be in first place, or at least in contention.
8:46 AM Sep 11th
 
flyingfish
Dave and the_slasher14: You both seem to forget that Storen was NOT doing his job effectively when it counted most. In the biggest, highest-stakes situations, he failed. Now, did that mean much? I don't know, but I still I think it was reasonable to shore up the back end of that bullpen. I don't like what Papelbon did--demanded to be the closer--and I don't like that the Nats let him do it. I'm very sorry that Storen hasn't done well recently, although for the first few games after Papelbon arrived he was extremely effective. I don't really know what's been going on there, but I'm not getting the sense that the organization really knows what it's doing. And yes, I do think the manager has been bad and has affected the outcomes of games.
9:11 PM Sep 10th
 
DaveFleming
Rationally, it seems a stretch to think that acquring Papelbon and moving Storen would derail the Nats so dramatically. There's an argument that it should have helped the Nats, because it allowed them to use their better reliever in higher leverage situations, while using Papelbon for saves.

That said, I think there's a possibility that this DID negatively impact the Nats, and I'd be willing to consider that it has ramifications that extended beyond those two players. The Nats had a veteran guy who was doing his job effectively, and management went out and brought in a replacement. They said, "Thanks for doing a great job, Drew, but we're gonna let this new guy take over. It's nothing you did. We just want to make a change."

Teams are complicated....what makes one team succeed past expectations and another one fail to live up to expectations is the result of thousands of variables, most of which we can't see.

Sabermetrics has generally tuned those variables out because we can't see them...I think that's well and good, and a useful counter to a lot of bullshit that gets aired.

But...we can go too far in our fidelity to the countable stuff. When I read something like "Managers just don't have a lot of impact on a team," I have to shake my head and think that's one of the places where sabermetrics has failed us.

It doesn't just go against intuition to say that managers aren't influential to team success...it goes against every day experience. All of us have had good bosses and bad ones, and all of us know that the difference, as it relates to performance, can be sizeable. To argue that baseball players are exempt from something that is true in any sphere that requires collaborative effort counters all rational thought.

I'm not trying to pick on anyone...I fully understand why we don't get into the muddy waters of trying to figure out what variables, out of the 1000 we can see and the 1000 we can't, are useful in judging a manager's ability. But to go from that to a conclusion that managers aren't influencial to a team's success is a leap into open air.
5:13 PM Sep 10th
 
the_slasher14
Look, I think Williams is a dreadful manager and have thought so for well over a year now. But as much as anything, the Nats plunge from contender to wait-till-next-year was engineered by the GM's decision to bring Jonathan Papelbon over with the understanding that he would replace Storen as the closer. Storen, to that point, was doing a perfectly fine job, and it is Rizzo's decision, not Williams's, that he now was the setup man, a role in which he has been an utter disaster. I have no idea why Storen imploded but this seems to me like a classic case of "it ain't broke, so don't fix it." And it wasn't Williams who tinkered with a machine that was working.
12:15 PM Sep 10th
 
flyingfish
sdbunting: Well said. The managerial blunders that actually affect the outcomes of games and that we remember generally occur in the postseason, because the stakes are so high then. I don't think the Nats' disaster two nights ago will be remembered by most fans because the Nats almost surely weren't going to make the playoffs anyway. But, for example, as a Red Sox fan, I still cringe when I think of the ground ball that went through Bill Buckner's legs in game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox led the series 3-2 and were ahead in that game. John McNamara had a good-fielding first baseman in Dave Stapleton but didn't use him. (At that point he probably was a better hitter than Buckner as well.) Buckner could barely walk at that point, let alone bend down. Of course, the Red Sox should have been able to overcome this horror. And then I cringe again when I think of Grady Little's leaving Pedro in to pitch after it was obvious, even to me, that he was gassed, in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees. That blunder cost Little his job.
8:56 AM Sep 10th
 
sdbunting
"You would have had a hard time finding any Met fan who thought Terry Collins was even an average major league manager and who didn't think he was an awful in-game manager, and you still might."

I've had a hard time finding any other Mets fan who didn't think Collins was fine -- not brilliant, but has done the best he could with a AAAA lineup for several years until the young guys were ready and the front office would spend some real money. Not that I don't have complaints about his bullpen management, but: you know. When you have to keep running C-pluses like Niese and Gee out there every few days it's hard to look like a genius.

With all of THAT said, I don't think the manager does affect game results all that much, usually. Sometimes a team that needed some kind of change will go on a tear after the symbol of their malaise is removed -- the Phillies, for one -- but he's just that, a symbol. He's not generally either as smart or as dumb as he might look.

...Except Williams. As I said on Twitter while it was happening, if a Mets fan WHOSE LAST NAME IS "BUNTING" is cringing at the Rendon play*? You're doing baseball wrong. And his failure to pull Storen was, like, morally repugnant. This is a human being. Go out there and get him, for chrissake. For that reason I'd have zero problem with Williams getting the hook -- a physical, literal hook, in the middle of an at-bat. It's not okay to be so freaking stupid at your job that you give your employees PTSD.

* actually 2, my dad texted to ask if I thought Williams had been drinking​
7:01 AM Sep 10th
 
MarisFan61
An irony is that the team that's been jumping into the vacuum has a manager who, until a few weeks ago, was regarded as very mediocre at best, and even now, with the Mets having surged into 95% likelihood to win the division, isn't regarded much better. You would have had a hard time finding any Met fan who thought Terry Collins was even an average major league manager and who didn't think he was an awful in-game manager, and you still might.
2:28 AM Sep 10th
 
flyingfish
Ilozada: I'll agree to that if your Giants promise not to pitch Madison Bumgarner. :)
7:15 PM Sep 9th
 
llozada
I'd prefer if all the bad NL managers keep their job (Williams, Mattingly, Mathenny - who's not gotten better, he just has a better bullpen this year) as it only helps the Giants. Them three are a huge reason we won last year.

We spent the entire 2014 season criticizing Yost and he ended up being the best of Bochy's opponents.
6:10 PM Sep 9th
 
rgregory1956

Thanks, Dave, I knew you'd find my comment humorous and would respond in kind.
5:57 PM Sep 9th
 
flyingfish
Interesting idea, Dave, but again it seems irresponsible for a supposedly thoughtful organization to just fire the manager because it's the only button they have to press. The Red Sox (again) also were a very disappointing team, but they didn't fire their manager this year. (They did kind of fire their general manager, who despite having a world series 3 years ago and having made some very good moves, also made some disastrous ones.) What team did fire its manager for no reason? The Marlins, and look at them now.

But I am somewhat of a Nats fan and I think Williams has been a very poor manager. He shows less understanding of the game at times than young Bryce Harper does. He has made quite a few questionable moves, culminating in last night's disaster. Why did he leave Storen in there to walk everyone in the ballpark? (I think he even walked a fan.) So I think you've come to the right conclusion, and now is a fine time to do it. But I think it's for the wrong reason. Williams should be fired because he's been a poor manager,and now is the time because just in case it makes a difference, then there still is a chance to make the postseason, albeit small.
4:48 PM Sep 9th
 
Riceman1974
Interesting theory. I hope the Nationals do it just to see if it works. I agree it's probably too late and may make the organization look even more ridiculous than they already do, but what have they got to lose? I don't see them turning it around these last 24 games. I don't even see them getting the lead down to 3 over the next 21 to make that last series meaningful.
3:48 PM Sep 9th
 
DaveFleming
Matt Williams' career K/BB ratio was a respectable 2.9 (1363 strikeouts, 469 walks). To give that some very useful context, John McGraw's K/BB ratio was a disappointing 0.17 (165 strikeouts, 836 walks). So while Matt Williams is a terrible manager, we can at least say he's better than John McGraw.
3:27 PM Sep 9th
 
OldBackstop
Yeah, I never liked the management scapegoat play.

Sunday night the Nats were jumping around with great team spirit, on a five game winning streak.

I don't have an opinion on whether Matt Williams is a good manager or not, but if I ask why he should be fired, I don't think the answer should be "why not?"

It can be a simple statement: he has lost control of or the respect of the team. There was a weird shot on the news of him getting booed leaving a press conference last night.

But as an observer, I would have said that key injuries were the reason the Nats were lagging. Here is a write up from ESPN:

---Just how dinged up have the Nationals been? Skipper Matt Williams wasn't able to field his projected Opening Day lineup until Aug. 25, in the 124th game of the season. Ryan Zimmerman, who's hit more homers than anyone in a Nats uniform, missed six weeks with plantar fasciitis. Jayson Werth, who led the team in combined WAR the last two seasons, lost two months to a broken wrist. Anthony Rendon, who finished fifth in the MVP voting last year, has been out more than he's been in thanks to multiple boo-boos. But the biggest hit of all has been the loss of leadoff hitter Denard Span, the engine that makes the choo-choo chug. He was out for seven weeks, came back in late August for two days, then tagged out for the season.Oh, and let's not forget Strasburg, who's visited the DL twice this season and had his last start skipped after leaving the previous one early with back discomfort. ----
1:27 PM Sep 9th
 
SkeptiSys
Matt Williams replaced one of the best managers in the game, Davey Johnson, and has a higher winning % than Davey did, .557 to .550 with the Nats. By Pythag, they are only 2 games behind the Mets. Matt hasn't done a bad job overall.

Firing him still may be the best move. What would Steinbrenner do?

12:37 PM Sep 9th
 
Marc Schneider
I think Williams is a bad manager for most of the reasons that have been expressed below. But, the article is utterly ridiculous; basically, it comes down to, let's fire the manager because there's nothing else we can do. It reminds me of an old Star Trek episode where are heroes are lost in space with no hope of rescue and, just for the hell of it, Spock fires off a signal that is miraculously picked up and all are saved. Well, that's fine for TV but it rarely works in real life. I have no problem with firing Williams, but if you are going advocate it,don't say, "I don't know if Williams is a good manager or not but it's all they can do." That is not the way to run an organization. My position would be he should be fired after the season; at this point, it's probably too late to salvage the season and making nonsensical moves just to make a move makes the franchise look stupid even if, ultimately, Williams will be gone.

And, yes, as a Nats fan, I can say that this is an incredibly arrogant team; for what reason, I don't know. They are hard to like. But, unlike some others here, I think the Nats future is bright. The core of the team-Rendon and Harper-are young, Michael Taylor may be a star in the making, Scherzer is not likely to continue to be this bad going forward, they have young arms in the minors, and the bullpen will be revamped. Werth's contract is sunk cost at this point.
12:06 PM Sep 9th
 
DanaKing
I'm a Pirates fan who lives about half way from DC to Baltimore. I get a lot of Nats news, and the arrogance of the franchise from the top down allows their collapses to demonstrate the true joys of Schadenfreude. All I can say now is, if they do fire Williams, is Jim Riggleman available?
11:20 AM Sep 9th
 
metsfan17
I really don't think the manager in baseball means much. However, lets say its 1993. Williams is up in the same situation as Rendon last night. Bonds in on deck and then say Royce Clayton. The count is 3-1. Baker has Williams bunting. You don't think Williams is going to look at Baker like he's crazy? It was just one of the dumbest moves I've ever seen. In a worst case scenario, Rendon grounds into a DP and you still have Harper up with a chance to tie the game if the Mets pitch to him. In either case, you pretty much take the bat out of Harper's hands. The guy played the game and played it well. I just can't believe he thought that was the right move. As a Mets fan, I was thanking him.

11:01 AM Sep 9th
 
evanecurb
Williams is lousy at handling the bullpen. He also has mishandled Roark. Is Davey interested in coming back? Probably not.

I think the story of the 2015 Nationals is that they haven't played well on defense and their bullpen has been awful. And the Mets have been very very good. Now they are in a position where they are going to lose Jordan Zimmerman and Desmond to free agency and they don't have Harper locked up long term.

Not to worry - Jayson Werth is signed for another three years and so is Ryan Zimmerman.

And Scherzer is signed through 2021.
10:43 AM Sep 9th
 
337
Sorry-- "agree with David" (a lot of new articles posted today!)
9:13 AM Sep 9th
 
337
It's not as if he's going to keep his job anyway, is it? What difference if he's gone now or gone in three weeks? I agree with Daniel--what do you have to lose? He's a dead man walking.
9:12 AM Sep 9th
 
MarisFan61
Hey c'mon Bob! :ha:
Even I wanna be nice. :-)

I don't think it's worth considering unless they think pretty much for sure he's been highly responsible for the disappointing season (which you say you don't know, and I don't too) -- because salvaging the season in any meaningful way is such a longshot. That's even if we view "salvaging" in a very broad way, including things besides making the post-season. As you say, "they still have a shot." But I'd say the chance of their going on some great run if they change managers isn't nearly high enough to justify doing something 'for the heck of it,' including because this somewhat tars an organization. And y'know, it isn't impossible they could go on such a run with Matt Williams. You're sort of suggesting that almost all of their theoretical 10% chance depends on him being gone.
8:40 AM Sep 9th
 
rgregory1956

Just curious, Dave, what's Matt Williams K/W ratio? For all I know he might be an invisable managerial ace.
8:12 AM Sep 9th
 
 
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