Desmond, Clippard want skipper familiar with Nats
Shortstop's first choice is bench coach Knorr, but he'll trust Rizzo's decision
PHOENIX -- After watching his team lose the season finale, 3-2, to the D-Backs, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond made it known who he wants to manage the club next year: bench coach Randy Knorr.
Knorr and Desmond have a player-manager relationship that goes back to when both were with Class A Savannah in 2005. The Nationals are looking to hire a new skipper to replace Davey Johnson, who retired this year after two-plus seasons with the club.
"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.
"With that being said, I wouldn't ever doubt any move that [general manager] Mike Rizzo makes. Since I've been here, I've seen the progress that we've made under his [leadership]. The team has only gotten better. I can't think of a move that he made that hurt our team. He has done an unbelievable job. I would respect anyone that he brought in. I, as a player, think that Randy is the best fit for us."
Reliever Tyler Clippard declined to say who he wanted as manager, but he acknowledged that he would like to work for a skipper who is familiar with the club. Knorr and third-base coach Trent Jewett are candidates for the job. Jewett interviewed for the position after Frank Robinson was relieved of his duties after the 2006 season. The job eventually went to Manny Acta.
"As for guys that expect to be here for the long haul, we all put thought into it," Clippard said. "But those kinds of decisions are out of our hands. I don't want to make those decisions. Those are tough decisions to make, but at the end of the day, with where our organization stands right now, we are going to be in a good spot going into next year.
"The only thing I ask to the people who make the decision on the managerial side of things -- don't mess it up. We have a good thing going on here. Whoever comes in next realizes it. The dynamic of the chemistry that we built in the last two seasons is a very important thing. Somebody who is more familiar with the dynamic of the clubhouse is going to be more beneficial to the organization. As long as they understand that, I think we'll be fine."
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.