Nationals exercise Williams' option for 2016

Viera, FL ( - The Washington Nationals have picked up the 2016 option on the contract of manager Matt Williams.

Williams is entering his second season as the club's skipper and last year guided the Nationals to the National League East title. Washington led the NL with 96 wins in 2014, then bowed out in the Division Series against eventual World Series champion San Francisco.

"It shows the great confidence we have in Matt to continue to lead this team on the field," said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo in a statement Saturday. "During his rookie season, he helped us navigate through injuries and led us to our second NL East Division title in three years. His leadership has earned him the respect of our players, coaches and his colleagues around the league."

Williams played 17 seasons as a third baseman with San Francisco, Cleveland and Arizona. The five-time All-Star was a coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks for four years before taking the Nats' job.

His lone managing experience before last year came with Salt River in the Arizona Fall League.

However, Williams' efforts in 2014 with Washington earned him the NL Manager of the Year award. He was the first rookie manager since 2006 to win the award.

"Matt's accomplishments on the field speak for themselves," said Nationals owner Theodore N. Lerner. "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."

Williams also has a second contract option in 2017.