Manny Acta has told ESPNdeportes.com writer Enrique Rojas that he has been fired as manager of the Washington Nationals (whether he was bragging or just stating the facts remains to be unseen). Acta's tenure as manager of the Nats looked promising, as his first year they were actually contenders before dropping out late to finish the season 73-89. Things went down hill from there. Last year the Nats were awful, going 59-102, and this year has been no different. Washington is the worst team and baseball, and now the worst team is in search of the best manager for the position. Here are some of the guys I would go after if I was in charge of the Nats:
Rudy Jaramillo, Texas Rangers Hitting Coach - Jaramillo has been loyal to the Rangers (first individual in Rangers history to serve more than eight seasons on their major league coaching staff), so it might be near impossible for Washington to snag him. But if they did, Rudy could get it done. The Nationals stink all around, including batting. Rudy Jaramillo is the Fountain of Youth when it comes to batting. Just look what he did with Andruw Jones! Atlanta's people couldn't help him, The Dodgers' people couldn't help him, but now in Texas he's back. It would be interesting to see if Jaramillo could rebuild the entire team's swing and make them contenders.
Larry Bowa, LA Dodgers 3rd Base Coach - Experience will be needed in Washington, and Bowa has it. Larry Bowa was a really underrated manager in Philadelphia, as he never won less than 80 games in his tenure. Man, Washington would build him a statue if he ever won 80 games there.
Don Mattingly, LA Dodgers Hitting Coach - Washington is all about hiring big names (After all, they hired Frank Robinson when he was 67!), and Mattingly is a big, big name. You don't usually hear much about his name being out there for managerial openings, probably because he is a walking Joe Torre successor whenever Joe retires. However I think this could work out, and Mattingly would do fine in his first stint as manager.
Terry Pendleton, Atlanta Braves Hitting Coach - Pendleton has been rumored as a candidate for several jobs in his tenure with the Braves, including this one in 2006 (he withdrew his name from consideration). This would be a great hire, but I see it very unlikely. It seems that either Pendleton or Glenn Hubbard are in waiting for Bobby Cox to retire to take over, so he might decide not to go to a horrible team when he could just coach a mediocre team instead. However, if Cox did stay a few more years and Pendleton did a great job with the Nats, he would without-a-doubt get the Atlanta job.
Willie Randolph, Milwaukee Brewers Bench Coach - Randolph's stint as Mets' manager was great except the fact that the team blew a huge lead in his last full season as manager. Randolph has what it takes to be a manager again, and no doubt he will be. But will he risk it and go to Washington or just wait and see the other jobs that open up. Looks like We will have to just wait and see.
Others to Consider: Ned Yost, former Brewers manager, Howard Johnson, Mets hitting coach, Mike Maddux, Rangers pitching coach