Former Nationals manager Matt Williams has accepted an offer to return to his previously occupied role as third base coach of the Diamondbacks, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reported earlier today (via Twitter). The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro tweets that an official announcement from the D-Backs should come on Wednesday.
Williams, 49, served on the D-Backs’ coaching staff from 2010-13 before Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo (formerly a scouting director with the Diamondbacks) hired him as the team’s manager prior to the 2014 season. Williams joined the Nats without any previous managerial experience to speak of, and while he guided the team to an overall winning record in two seasons at the helm, his lack of experience in communicating with players reportedly weighed on the clubhouse. He was let go following a disappointing season that saw the Nationals — a popular postseason pick and the NL East Division favorite back in Spring Training — fall short of the playoffs entirely.
That, of course, isn’t to say that Williams doesn’t have plenty to bring to the table as a member of a Major League coaching staff. The five-time All-Star enjoyed a 17-year Major League career during which he batted .268/.317/.489 with 378 homers, and he now has six years of coaching/managerial experience to bring to the table in a familiar environment.
While Williams will serve under a different manager this time around in Arizona — Kirk Gibson has been replaced by Chip Hale — there are still some familiar faces on the coaching staff. Bench coach Glenn Sherlock has been with the team for 16 seasons, and while assistant hitting coach Mark Grace wasn’t on the Major League staff back in 2013, the two men are former D-Backs teammates (2001-03) and both have extensive careers with the organization. And, of course, players such as Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin, Aaron Hill and Brad Ziegler, among others, were on the roster during Williams’ previous coaching stint in Phoenix.