Arizona Diamondbacks: Matt Williams Off to Manage the Washington Nationals

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | It appears as if Matt Williams' time as third-base coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks is over.

The Washington Post reports that Williams will be the new manager of the Washington Nationals. It can't be made official until after the World Series, per MLB regulations.

Williams is a first-time major league manager who will be inheriting a talented roster, including slugging phenom Bryce Harper and fireballer Steven Strasburg. The tools are in place for Williams and the Nationals to make a run in the National League East, and it should be a terrific start to his managing career.

He has had a couple of managing stints in the minor leagues, once for Double-A Mobile at the end of the 2007 season and once during the Arizona Fall League in 2012 for the Salt River Rafters.

What does this mean for the Diamondbacks? That depends on how much stock you put into the secondary coaches.

The fact of the matter is, Williams' effect on the team isn't felt from the third-base box, it's felt in the clubhouse. You can put anyone with baseball experience and knowledge out there as a third-base coach. He might make a poor decision once in a while, but, for the most part, he isn't winning or losing games for the team.

In the case of Williams, his impact on the Diamondbacks was felt mostly by the infielders, whom he often coached. Aaron Hill gushed to MLB.com about Williams, saying, "He will be a great manager and continue to be a great mentor. I can go on and on about the guy. He's awesome."

Willie Bloomquist pointed to the fact that Williams does a great job relating to this generation of players, saying, "He's a realist, he understands that the game is changing constantly and it's becoming more and more difficult, and he relates extremely well to players."

That's going to be important, because too many of these "old-school" guys think they can treat players the same way they did 30 years ago (cough Kirk Gibson cough). Having the smarts and willingness to adapt will go a long way for Williams.

Take Harper as the prime example. Williams has long had a disdain for showboating and you'd be hard-pressed to find a time when Williams did it as a player. Yet, Harper is the kind of fiery player that is a hybrid of the new and old-school train of thought. He plays hard every single day, but he's also not afraid to be a bit brash when the time calls for it.

It remains to be seen who will replace Williams at third base. Until the formal announcement has been made, don't expect to hear any names. The hole at third-base coach will be filled, but the effect on the players on a personal level will be felt for quite some time.

Michael Dunlap covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of HoopsHabit.com.


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