National League Manager of the Year locked down for next two seasons
By Jamal Collier
VIERA, Fla. -- Prior to the first workout for Nationals pitchers and catchers Saturday, the team announced it has exercised the 2016 club option on manager Matt Williams.
"I'm honored to have that done," Williams said. "The organization is fantastic, they've supported all of us since the day I arrived here and they continue to do so."
Consider this a reward for Williams' stellar first season as a manager. With 96 wins, Washington finished with the best record in the National League last season, cruising to their second division title in franchise history by a Major League-best 17 games. Williams also earned the NL Manager of the Year Award from both the BBWAA and the Sporting News.
Rather than allow Williams to enter this season with grand expectations and a status as a lame duck manager, the team wanted to take care of the option before Spring Training began.
"It's always good to know the manager's going to be around for a while," general manger Mike Rizzo said. "He certainly has earned that right. I think the players respect him greatly, and he's been a great leader for the organization."
Williams, 49, has a second option on his contract available for 2017, but for now, Washington has entrusted him a team that is one of the favorites to win the NL pennant this season and perhaps for years to come.
"We want him to be around," Rizzo said. "He's a good manager, gives us some stability and shows how much we think he's capable of leading us to where we want to go."
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.