ATLANTA — Matt Williams defended himself Wednesday against a new round of harsh criticism levied at him, saying “all of the facts aren’t out there” but declining to go into more detail at this point, with five games still remaining on the Nationals’ schedule.
Responding to a question about a Washington Post expose detailing the Nationals’ season that included several unflattering anecdotes about his performance as manager, Williams suggested there was more to the story and he would share his side of it at a later date.
“I think if we’re going to talk about it, it’s going to take longer than a conference like this,” Williams said during his daily pregame session with reporters, this one in the dugout at Turner Field. “And I think you have to have all the facts. I mean all of them. So that being said, I’ll hold my comments for now. Because all of the facts aren’t out there.”
Among the charges outlined against Williams in the article were accusations of bullpen mismanagement, a heated encounter with Jayson Werth when the veteran outfielder was left out of the lineup one day and an overall lack of communication with his players.
“He’s like the guy in his house who hears a sound, like someone breaking in,” one anonymous player was quoted as saying in the article. “And his reaction isn’t to take care of the problem or investigate. It’s to put his head under the pillow and hope it goes away.”
Williams, the reigning NL Manager of the Year who had his contract option for 2016 picked up by the Nationals during spring training, has come under intense scrutiny this season, particularly as his team collapsed down the stretch and lost the division title to the Mets.
General manager Mike Rizzo repeatedly has said no decisions will be made about the manager’s future until the season is over, which has left Williams in the uncomfortable position of dealing with constant speculation about his position while still finishing out the string of a difficult season.
“It doesn’t feel good,” he admitted Wednesday. “It doesn’t feel good to have all of these words said. But it is what it is, and we will move on from today. But I would say that we have a few games to play, and we need to play well. That’s what I’m concentrating on now. And we’ll deal with it at the appropriate time.”