Bits: Nats' 2016 plans, managerial candidates

Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have a lot to consider before the offseason even begins. Larry Goren/Icon SMI

The Washington Nationals are easily the most interesting non-playoff team to track right now because they're facing an internal dilemma: Do they go for it one more time and be aggressive in free agency, or do they turn the page, get younger and retool? According to sources on their board of directors and in the front office, there are split opinions on that, and obviously they'll need to make a decision before the offseason arrives.

Washington took a well-publicized step back this year, dropping from 96 wins in 2014 to 83 wins this year. The 2015 Nats were mired with injuries, underperformance and off-field distractions, and have a lot to consider as they decide their future.

One thing is for certain: The team will have new on-field leadership after firing manager Matt Williams and his entire coaching staff. This provides a good opportunity for the Nationals to get it right this time after the Jim Riggleman and Williams disasters. In my mind, a strong leader who can relate to today's players and provide motivation and discipline, along with a strong knowledge of pitching, would be the perfect fit here, and Bud Black should be the front-runner.

The Nationals also must deal with a long line of free-agent departures, including starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, shortstop Ian Desmond and center fielder Denard Span.