Matt Williams is the front-runner to become the new manager of the Washington Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Kilgore reports that Washington's current bench coach, Randy Knorr, and third-base coach, Trent Jewett, both had "strong" interviews, but that Williams is still the favorite. The position opened up when Davey Johnson retired at the end of the season.
Williams has been a managerial candidate before: the Colorado Rockies considered him for their vacancy last winter before hiring Walt Weiss. He also has a minor connection with the Nationals franchise -- current GM Mike Rizzo was Arizona's scouting director at the tail-end of of Williams' playing career for the Diamondbacks.
Besides Williams, Knorr and Jewett, other potential candidates for the Nationals' job could include San Diego Padres front-office executive Brad Ausmus and Baltimore Orioles' Hall of Famer Cal Ripken. Kilgore also notes that Washington has yet to interview a minority candidate; Major League Baseball requires that teams consider at least one non-white person for many leadership positions including manager and general manager. Tony Beasley, the manager of the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, seems like the most obvious minority candidate at this time. Beasley served as Washington's third-base coach in 2006.
As a player, Williams hit .268/.317/.489 with 378 home runs in 1,866 games.