Just as the Nationals' managerial search appeared to be poised to enter a more advanced phase, a development on the other side of the country could throw some wrenches into the plan.
Don Mattingly's departure from Los Angeles early Thursday morning will have ripple effects across the majors, with the former All-Star first baseman now available for hire elsewhere and an attractive Dodgers job now open for several candidates already up for other managerial positions, including in Washington.
Given general manager Mike Rizzo's stated preference for a new manager with experience, Mattingly would be a logical candidate at least to speak with the Nationals. Owner of a .551 winning percentage and three division titles in five seasons with the Dodgers, he is a well-respected figure around the sport with plenty of experience managing a club in a big market with lofty expectations and several high-salaried star players. Questions about his ability to get along with some of those star players in Los Angeles, though, could be a detriment from the Nationals' perspective.
RELATED: Nationals roster review: Max Scherzer
Mattingly, 54, will have other suitors. The Marlins reportedly are interested and could make an aggressive push to hire him. The Mariners and Padres also are currently seeking new managers.
Even if the Nationals aren't seriously interested in Mattingly, his sudden availability could have a domino effect on their ongoing search. Among those the Dodgers could now consider include former Padres manager Bud Black (seen by many as the best fit in Washington), Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez (seen as a potential Nationals candidate now that Chicago has been eliminated from the postseason) and Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach (who has interviewed with the Nats, according to Yahoo! Sports).
The Nationals are close to wrapping up their initial round of interviews, having already met with at least eight candidates, according to sources with knowledge of their search: Black; Wallach; former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire; former Giants, Cubs and Reds manager Dusty Baker; Giants bench coach Ron Wotus; Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green; Diamondbacks Class AAA manager Phil Nevin; and former big-league infielder Alex Cora.
MORE NATIONALS: Report: Nats interviewed D-Backs coach for manager job
Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.
Dancing is not.
On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor.
With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch."
Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.
While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."
RELATED: PRESEASON MLB POWER RANKINGS
It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.
While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle.
106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here.
It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
RELATED: TIM TEBOW'S AT-BAT VS. MAX SCHERZER ENDED JUST HOW YOU'D EXPECT
Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
RELATED: CAMELS JOIN NATS AT SPRING TRAINING