This offseason, the Washington Nationals will have some seriously tough decisions to make about on and off field personnel. Possibly the most important of those decisions will be who manages the team in 2012 and beyond. Current Manager Davey Johnson hasn't decided what he'll do at the end of the 2011 season and is certainly an option for next season, if he's interested, but we're going to discuss other options within the organization that the Nats are considering, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported last night.
As the Nats current Third Base Coach, Bo Porter's name was immediately thrown out there as a candidate for the Nats job after Jim Riggleman's untimely departure because of his familiarity with the current roster and organization, and he will certainly remain that way going into next season. However, Jack McKeon is not likely to return for the 2012 season as Florida Marlins manager, and they are looking at Porter as a possible replacement, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Porter has experience as a Single-A manager with the soon-to-be Miami Marlins, was a bench coach for Kirk Gibson for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, and is an attractive young managerial candidate.
Randy Knorr is a name that hardcore Nationals fans are certainly familiar with. During his time with the organization, Knorr has managed the three highest minor league clubs in the organization, Single-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg, and Triple-A Syracuse. The "familiarity factor" for Knorr will make him a prime candidate with significant homegrown talent likely to make the team next season.
Trent Jewett is also familiar with the organization, as he was a candidate for the manager's post after Frank Robinson's departure in 2006. Jewett managed the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, and formerly the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in several stints between 1998 and 2008. Jewett was a non-uniformed coach for the Nats to start the season but was promoted to First Base Coach after Dan Radison left out of respect to the recently departed Riggleman.
The Nationals will almost certainly look outside the organization for a few names, but this team, based on so much youth and internal growth, may be best served by looking internally to give someone his first MLB manager's job. Time will tell, but don't look for the organization to drag its feet for long on the decision. The 2012 season looks to be a crucial and exciting one for NatsTown.