Back in the winter of 2013, the Washington Nationals took a chance and gave a former Major League third baseman a Major League managerial job when they hired former Diamondback Matt Williams. Two years later, will they look to another former Major League third baseman, with minor league managing experience to become the next manager? According to Zach Buchanan from AZCentral, the Nats are interested in current Reno Aces’ manager Phil Nevin:
Nevin played for 12 years in the Major Leagues with the Astros, Tigers, Angels, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, and Twins. He had a lifetime batting average of .270 with 208 home runs and 743 RBI’s. He spent seven of those 12 seasons in San Diego, who is also looking for a new manager currently.
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While the 44-year-old does not have any Major League managing experience, he does have some minor league experience. He has been managing in the minors since 2009 and has spent the last four seasons managing triple-A teams. This season, he was managing the Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks triple-A afffilate). The Aces went 81-63, but they lost in the deciding fifth game of the Pacific Coast League championship.
Despite that successful season, Nevin’s lifetime managerial record at the triple-A level is 269-306 (.468 winning percentage). However, Tony La Russa, who is the Chief Baseball Officer of the Diamondbacks, thinks that Nevin is ready to be a Major League manager:
Plus, Nevin is one of the top names on the market right now. The Miami Marlins recently had him in for an interview, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. When talking to the media on Monday, president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said that Major League experience wasn’t necessary the only requirement to be the next Nats’ manager:
"“Experience is always helpful. It always adds a layer of expertise to someone’s résumé. We feel where we are in our timetable toward winning a championship, we lean toward someone who has managerial experience at the major league level.” (h/t James Wagner, The Washington Post)"
While Nevin could end up being a good manager, the Nationals’ main priority should be to hire a manager who has experience at the Major League level, whether that be Ron Gardenhire, Dusty Baker, or Bud Black. Still, it would be interesting to see if Rizzo went for another man who had Diamondbacks’ connections. Plus, since Nevin is from California, he may lean toward staying on the West Coast if the Padres show interest in hiring him.