NEW YORK — In the wake of a report he’ll be fired at season’s end, Nationals manager Matt Williams said he has not yet been informed by club officials of any change in his status and that he intends to continue performing his job through this weekend’s final series before learning his fate.
“Nobody’s spoken to me about anything at this point,” Williams said prior to the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. “And, frankly, it’s not a concern of mine right now. We’ve got a guy that’s a potential MVP on our team, and we’ve got three games to play. That’s what I’m concentrating on. That’s what I know right now. As of today, I’ve got a job to do — a couple of times — and we’ll go from there.”
Williams’ job has been hanging in the balance for several weeks, more so since the Nationals officially were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, Jonathan Papelbon attacked Bryce Harper in the dugout during a game and several unflattering reports about Williams’ decision-making and player-communication skills were published.
On Friday, CBSsports.com reported Williams “will indeed be given his pink slip following the year.” Club sources said the decision has not yet been made and won’t be until the season is over.
Williams has attempted to stay above the fray over the last week, even as his reputation has been dragged through the mud, and he was adamant that won’t change.
“I personally feel that it is my job to be a calming force, as opposed to a disruptive one,” he said. “We have a lot of talented players on this team that I support, wholeheartedly, every single day. I will not stop doing that. Ever. Believe me when I tell you this. Ever stop doing this. So that being said, I’m not going to subject this team to any more distraction. There’s no reason for further distraction at this point. What’s important is that we finish this season as strong as we can finish. Beyond that, it’s noise.”
Williams wouldn’t divulge his plan to speak with club officials once the season ends Sunday.
“That’s between myself and management,” he said. “There’s conversations that happen every single day. We’ll keep that private to this point. Again, we’ve got three to play, and we’ve got a potential MVP on our team. This is not going to be a distraction anymore. It’s not. Bryce needs to play. Our guys need to finish strong. Max [Scherzer] is going to pitch again, needs to finish his season strong. So can Gio [Gonzalez]. So can Tanner [Roark]. That’s what we’re concerned about. To throw anything else out there is just not prudent. That’s not what we want to do at this point.”