James Wagner of the Washington Post is reporting that the Washington Nationals will hire former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black as Matt Williams‘ replacement. Wagner also notes that the Nationals likely won’t announce the hiring until after the World Series.
Williams, who led the Nationals to a disappointing 83-79 record despite being the World Series favorites earlier in the season, was fired following the Nationals collapse that lead to the New York Mets National League pennant. Brought in to replace Davey Johnson in 2014, Williams compiled a 179-145 record, but failed to help his team to an NLCS berth, going 1-3 in playoff games.
The southpaw, Black, spent 15 years as a pitcher in the big leagues with five different teams. He was part of the 1985 Kansas City Royals squad, going 10-15 with a 4.33 ERA. Black, who managed the Padres from 2007 to 2015, compiled a 649-713 managerial record before being fired in June of 2015 following a disappointing start for a Padres team that was composed of expensive outfielders, underperforming infielders and young pitching. The pitching staff was really the only part of the Padres roster that ever came close to living up to expectations.
Despite a diverse group of managerial candidates, one that included Dusty Baker, Ron Gardenhire, Alex Cora, Phil Nevin, Rick Renteria, Randy Knorr and even the Iron Man, Cal Ripken Junior, GM Mike Rizzo decided Black was the right choice to right the ship in Washington.
The Nationals had openly expressed their interest in hiring a manager who had previous managerial experience after Williams was fired. As Dusty Baker has won over 1600 games as a manager, but has been removed from the game for more than two seasons while Black has been out of a job for only a couple of months.
The laid back manager is known for being able to connect well with his players, something the Nationals clubhouse desperately longs for following the dust-up between closer Jonathan Papelbon and MVP candidate Bryce Harper. Black won the N.L. Manager of the Year award in 2010 despite missing the playoffs.
The Nationals have disappointed a fan base in a championship drought that has stretched on since the franchise relocated from Montreal despite the fact that each year many analysts pick them as favorites to win the World Series.
Bud Black should have little trouble managing the Nationals back into a winning team especially with $163,000,000 to work with. It also doesn’t hurt to have MVP candidate Bryce Harper and Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer leading your team as well. With 21-year-old flamethrower Lucas Giolito and 22-year-old shortstop Trea Turner in the minors on their way to stardom too, the Nationals have a strong chance to be a feared team in the N.L. East in 2016 and with Bud Black at the helm, they may just be the team to beat this upcoming season.