As the regular MLB season draws to a close, many fans are still focused on the recent dugout incident between Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon. A new report now suggests that more disharmony has been happening within the Washington Nationals' clubhouse.
In a long report by the Washington Post, the spotlight was shone on coach Matt Williams and how he supposedly "lost" his team. It also focused on how the Jonathan Papelbon trade had upset a good portion of the team's roster.
The article cited two major examples Williams' letdown. First is his alleged poor handling of the bullpen and second is his supposed lack of communication with players regarding their roles and playing time.
An apparent example of the latter involved veteran outfielder Jayson Werth and his confrontation with coach Williams. The former showed up one day and was surprised to find out that his name was not included in the lineup card.
Werth was reportedly so disgusted about the miscommunication that he tore the card off the wall. NBC Sports noted that this may not necessarily be an ego thing but a preparation thing. The outfielder is said to be disappointed that he had not received notification that he would be given the day off.
Citing sources who are present at the scene, the Washington Post wrote, "Incensed, Werth ripped the lineup card off the wall, bellowing that it was going to change. Then, according to several people who were present, he confronted Williams - not just about whether he would play that day, but about what most of the clubhouse considered to be a chronic lack of communication with his players. Among the most jarring barbs, from Werth to Williams: 'When exactly do you think you lost this team?'"
The chaos with the Nationals was believed to have begun the last time the San Francisco Giants was in D.C. for Division Series' Game 2. Jordan Zimmermann had a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning and was cruising toward a three-hitter without the slightest sign of trouble. With two out, the Nationals pitcher walked Joe Panik, and coach Williams went to relief pitcher Drew Storen, who then coughed up the tying run. As a result, New York ended up winning an 18-inning marathon on first baseman Brandon Belt's home run.
It seemed that the Nats have not recovered from that loss, and Williams' purported mishandling of his bullpen has become an issue throughout the season. Even before the Harper-Papelbon incident, the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga wrote that several team members were not happy with the coach's strategy. One player reportedly mentioned that "It's a terrible environment... And the amazing part is everybody feels that way."