- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2015

VIERA, Fla. — On the first day of spring workouts, the Washington Nationals announced they have picked up the 2016 team option in Matt Williams’ contract Saturday.

He has another team option in 2017.

“I’m excited. I’m excited to be a part of the organization,” Williams said. “The fact that it got picked up, I’m honored to have that done. The organization is fantastic. They’ve supported all of us since the day I arrived here, and they continue to do so. So I’m very pleased and excited for spring and beyond.”

Williams was the 2014 Baseball Writers’ Association of America National League Manager of the Year. He led the Nationals to 96 wins and a National League East division title in his rookie season as a manager.

“Matt’s accomplishments on the field speak for themselves,” owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. “He takes great pride not only in how the game is played, but in our players. We are fortunate to have Matt as our manager and look forward to him leading us to new heights.”

The timing of the move was not coincidental. Washington enters the 2015 season with perhaps the highest expectations in team history. With the addition of former Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer, the Nationals have assembled the one of the best starting rotations in baseball and are the Las Vegas favorite to win the World Series. 

Prior to Saturday, Williams was set to face those expectations in the final guaranteed year of his contract. Now, he has an additional level of security in knowing this season will not be his last, regardless of the outcome. 

“It’s always good to know the manager’s going to be around for awhile,” general manager 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.”

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