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Nats go with the safe, sensible hire

Oct 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

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The Nationals’ planned hiring of Harry Ralston Black as their next manager isn’t going to cause people to leap out of their seats in jubilation.

The 58-year-old everyone has always known simply as “Bud” isn’t the kind of guy who brings a commanding presence to every room he enters. He’s not going to march into the Nats’ clubhouse and instantly change the culture.

Casual baseball fans probably don’t know a whole lot about the guy, whose 15-year career as a big-league pitcher was about as average as they get: a 121-116 record and 3.84 ERA with five different franchises. And his managerial record during 8 1/2 years in San Diego was rather uninspiring: 649 wins, 713 losses, zero postseason berths.

What exactly, you may be asking, made Black the clear-cut choice to take over a Nationals franchise that once again will enter next season with the loftiest of expectations, hoping this time to actually live up to the billing?

The answer boils down to two words: Experience and reputation.

After watching the Matt Williams Era end in embarrassing fashion, both on the field and behind the scenes, general manager Mike Rizzo knew his next manager needed a track record. Williams was a complete unknown, having barely managed in the minors and having only spent a few years on the Diamondbacks’ big-league coaching staff before coming to Washington to lead a World Series contender.

Black, on the other hand, is a completely known entity. He has decades of experience, including nine seasons as Mike Scioscia’s pitching coach in Anaheim before moving to San Diego in 2007 for his first managerial gig. He has been a position of authority in a major-league dugout the last 18 years. He has seen every scenario that arises. He’s not going to be overwhelmed by any aspect of the job.

Experience, of course, doesn’t count for everything. If it did, Dusty Baker (who managed the Giants, Cubs and Reds for a total of 20 seasons) would’ve been given this job in a heartbeat instead of losing out to a member of his pitching staff in San Francisco from two decades ago.

That’s where Black’s reputation catapulted him to the top of the pile. He is universally respected around the game. Padres players were crushed by his firing last June, recognizing their skipper was an undeserving fall guy for their failures on the field. People throughout baseball — players, coaches, executives, media — all agreed Black would get another managerial job in short order.

Here’s evidence of the way Black is viewed in the sport: Despite owning a career .477 winning percentage and only two winning seasons in nine tries, he received NL Manager of the Year votes on five separate occasions, winning the award in 2010.

Consensus opinion on Black is clear. He is universally regarded as a good manager who never really had a chance to win big with a San Diego franchise that spent little on payroll and underwent several front-office shakeups over the years.

If Black proves a success in D.C., he certainly wouldn’t be the first manager to make good after years of mediocrity or worse.

Bobby Cox didn’t reach the postseason once in his first eight years as a big-league manager. He then got there 17 times in his final 22 seasons.

Joe Torre reached October just once in 14 seasons managing the Mets, Braves and Cardinals. Then he did it 14 times in 15 years with the Yankees, winning four World Series titles.

Terry Francona was a bust over four seasons in Philadelphia. Then he went to Boston and won two World Series in four years.

And then there are the two skippers currently squaring off in this World Series. Terry Collins managed 10 big-league seasons without a single trip to the postseason. Now he’s in the Fall Classic. And Ned Yost, viewed as a failure during his first 10 managerial seasons, has now been to the World Series two straight years and at this moment owns the best winning percentage (.714) of anyone in history who has managed at least 20 postseason games.

None of that, of course, guarantees Black will win big in Washington. But if he does, it won’t come as a shock to those who have followed recent baseball history and who have followed his own career.

This was by no means a bold decision by Rizzo and the Lerner family. They didn’t take a chance on a longtime bench coach like Ron Wotus or a baseball icon like Cal Ripken or a proven winner like Dusty Baker.

No, the Nationals made the safe choice in selecting Bud Black to be their next manager. After everything dramatic this franchise has been through in the last year, maybe it was time to do something safe for a change.

  1. jfmii - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    Off topic, Royals are good, aren’t they?

    • natsfan1a - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      Yes, yes they are.

  2. natsguy - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    Supposedly Rick Renteria will be bench coach.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    Well, the Bud Black era begins. Welcome Bud… Good Luck. Lets kick butt next year.

  4. TimDz - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    I was kind of hoping for Wotus from SF, but this is defiinitely not a bad hire….

  5. mauimo22 - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    In Rizzo We Trust.
    In Black We Depend.

    GO NATS 2016!
    * now no stupid comments in off-season like “where’s my ring” or “World Series or bust”
    * focus on getting best players on field and healthy
    * hitters – learn how to bunt, play small-ball, hit line drives to gaps, limit Ks and home run swings
    * pitchers – hold runners on base, limit free passes, be aggressive with hitters
    * with the talent we have already, fundamental baseball should take us far

    #NoPromises
    #NoRegrets

    • adcwonk - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:31 AM

      limit Ks

      OK, here’s a radical suggestion on a strategy that few MLB teams seem to use. I wonder if Black will go out on a limb with this one . . .

      Shorten up the swing a bit with two strikes?

      (I remember reading a week or so ago a comment by someone that they hope the Royals don’t win the WS, because then everyone will try to emulate their style of play. Whatever one says about their overall team strategy, shortening up the swing a bit with two strikes seems like a no brainer — although so few teams or players seem to do that . . . )

    • senators5 - Oct 29, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      WoW!! If I were 60 years younger, I would want you as my manager/coach!

  6. Serious Jammage - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Welcome Bud! A guy getting the (near) universal respect of players, managers, and front office types does not happen by accident. Sounds like just the right guy.

    Side note — a good friend is a Reds fan and his thoughts on Dusty were, “oh dear Lord, no…”

  7. natsfan1a - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    I don’t do armchair GM or owner, but I like that they first decided what they wanted (not only what they didn’t want), then did a thorough search, and that they went with experience. Welcome, Bud, and good luck!

    • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      I think you just did armchair GM/owner. Congrats, and welcome!

  8. Joe Seamhead - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    I’m not jumping up and down here for joy, or in disagreement. My wish? That the Nats continue to improve as an organization, the team becomes a perennial playoff team, wins a couple of World Series, and Bud Black is here as the skipper leading them there for many years to come.

    Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the hot stove league, and I am anticipating a return to “In Rizzo We Trust” mentality from the faithful because of the outstanding moves that Mike will make to improve the club.

    • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      Joe,

      I think this was a good move. Given the fiasco that was last year Rizzo could not take a chance on someone who has never managed in the majors before, he simply couldn’t.

      Bud Black seems from afar as someone who is fairly level headed, calm and not wound tightly like MW. He also brings a wealth of pitching knowledge to the table which has to be a big plus.

      I am not looking for Bud Black to increase our win total by brilliant managing. I am simply looking for him to not decrease our total by foolish moves. There is no sense in bashing MW any longer so I like you am ready for the next piece of news. I am very interested who the next pitching coach will be. Frankly I think there’s a chance they bring Mc.Catty back, that would be disappointing.

      • Joe Seamhead - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM

        I don’t see Steve McCatty coming back. Thie problem with bringing influential coaches back with a new manager is that they still feel like they carry a lot of weight in decisions, or have the “that’s the way we always did it” mentality. MW had little say in his coaching staff because he was inexperienced and the existing staff had been somewhat successful under Davey. I have a hard time believing that Bud Black won’t have the chance to make his own choices, with some influence from Rizzo, of course.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        McCatty used to tick me off. I always felt like he would only go out on the mound when Gio was in the game… I think it is time for new faces in the dug out and I do hope that Bud gets a chance to get his guys and can run with the job.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:59 AM

        I am no expert on pitching but what I didn’t like about Mc.Catty is I never felt like our pitchers were developing and improving under his watch (with the possible exception of Roark) and I also felt that new pitchers (free agents) didn’t really maintain the levels they brought with them.

        I am especially disappointed with the slow progress in Stras’s development, I thought Gio regressed, I thought JZimm regressed etc. I also felt that our pitching philosophy was very un-aggressive. Too much pitching to contact, not enough pitching in. I feel that our pitchers all have the ability and talent to be as effective as the Mets young pitchers but our approach isn’t the same as theirs.

      • adcwonk - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        Wow — I really, really, don’t get the McCatty bashing here.

        As recently as 2014 the Nats led the league in ERA — by a significant margin. And also fewest walks, also by a significant margin.

        Yeah, 2015 wasn’t nearly as good — but a big part of that was Strasburg’s disastrous first half (which was due to injuries), Roark’s inability to keep the ball down, Fister’s huge regression (also, in part, due to injuries). (JZ also regressed, I don’t put that on McCatty).

        I am especially disappointed with the slow progress in Stras’s development

        Wow. IMHO, Stras has developed excellently, in part under McCatty’s tutelage.

        Stras was our best pitcher in 2014, and, in the second half of 2015 — with injuries behind him — was also our best pitcher! What more do you want?!

        2015 ERA after the all star break:

        Strasburg — 10 starts, 1.90 ERA
        Scherzer — 15 starts, 3.72 ERA
        JZ — 15 starts, 4.20 ERA
        Joe Ross – 10 starts (+ 3 relief), 3.99 ERA
        GIO — 15 starts, 3.56 ERA

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Chase reported yesterday that McCatty is going to Detroit.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

        Wonk,

        Stras has been a good pitcher but he hasn’t had a dominant stretch until the 2nd half of last year. Through 2014 he was in the top 3 pitchers in baseball in line drive ratio given up, in other words he was either striking hitters out or giving up hard contact (very hard contact). Strasburg came in with talent at least up there with the Mets young phenoms so saying that he’s been good simply isn’t enough for me.

      • trfwans - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        McCatty was pitching coach since the tail end of Acta’s tenure. Lots of pitchers developed under his watch: Stammen, Lannan, Clippard, Storen. Zimmermann, just off the top of my head. FAs or trades arrived and either improved or maintained: Gio, Fister, Roark, Ross, among others. And consider this: no one complained about McCatty until Williams arrived. That says a lot more about MW than it does about Cat.

      • trfwans - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM

        Actually Chase reported that McCatty MAY go to Detroit. There was another possible candidate mentioned in that report.

  9. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Thinking more on it… I feel like Bud is a Lerner family hiring… I wonder if the relationship between the Lerners and Rizzo is a little fractured given MW’s failings and what happened with Paps…

    • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      I don’t know if I agree with you on this. I think the Lerners absolutely insisted on an experienced manager but I doubt they hand picked Black. Rumor is that they really liked Baker actually and that’s why he was brought for a second interview.

      I also think that Rizzo is still in solid shape with the Lerners but he definitely lost some points with the way things unraveled last year. It should also be noted that the Lerners were on board on both the MW and Pap decisions.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        Pure speculation of course but it just *seems* the Lerners are more active recently. Either way, like you, I dont expect Bud Black to necessarily add to the win total. I expect him to not add to the loss total like the previous skipper.

        I know that Black is good with pitchers and all but I really really really (I can keep saying really) hope that Rizzo gives him a strong BP to work with.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Mrsb,

        I agree with both you and Joe that Mc.Catty shouldn’t be brought back. I read yesterday that some former coaches will be recommended to Black, I hope they mean Tarasco and the bullpen coach (I forget his name).

        Realistically, I think Rizzo can only throw so much money at the bullpen, in other words it’s not reasonable to think that he can sign multiple free agent relievers and I don’t think that’s necessary. I think half the problem was bullpen management. I would love to see O’Day in a Nats uniform and I also wouldn’t get rid of Storen until and unless you have a real new closer in place (don’t count on Rivero just yet).

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:10 AM

        Just me speculating, but I suspected at the time that Papelbon was the Lerner’s call, and it was Rizzo who needed convincing.

      • virginiascopist - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        Sec 3: I agree with your speculation regarding Pap being more the Lerners’ idea than Rizzo’s (in the same way that Soriano was).

      • senators5 - Oct 29, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        What I don’t understand is how many posters say the Lerners did this or did not do that or wanted this guy or didn’t want that guy.. I have read 0 as in ZERO quotes from any family member about player/managers/coaches moves. The only quote that sticks in my mind comes from Ted Lerner who suggested several years back that the MASN contract sucks (my word, not his). If you have direct quotes requiring quotation marks from a Lerner family member about personnel moves, I would appreciate you sharing with me. Otherwise everything else is pure conjecture and mostly meaningless, which 90% of present social media tends to be.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 29, 2015 at 6:54 PM

        Whaddaya want from me, a refund? I said I was speculating.

    • JayB - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      correct as you know I feel Rizzo has lost the confidence of the ownership group. Especially Ted who I am quite sure wanted to fire MW back in Oct of 2014 for what we all know was really bad decisions in the playoffs. Rizzo is on thin ice for moves that cost money….the John P move is just so incredibly poorly though out how could Uncle Ted give him the keys again? Just what everyone said would happen (except Rizzo who said he did his homework) happened and the exposed Rizzo as did the MW endless love.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:16 AM

        And you really believe that Rizzo brought in Paplebon which added $11 mil in payroll for 2016 without getting an OK from the owners? – get serious.

      • Joe Seamhead - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        I think, with nothing other than my own feelings and speculation to go by, that Soriano and Papelbon were very much Lerner picks, but we’ll probably never know.[Hell,I still believe Knorr was never picked as manager because of the game when he pulled Soriano, whether any of us agreed with the call, or not. Soriano was the brass’ man, and for a one day manager to both deviate from the plan, and then to publicly trash him didn’t go over very well] But honestly, I don’t think Pap was all on Mike Rizzo. I don’t think that Mark, or Ted Lerner have faith in Drew Storen,and if they blame Rizzo for anything it’s for using a first round draft choice on him to begin with.

        Now it will be interesting as to how much say Bud will a have regarding Storen and Pap’s future with the team. Black, with his pitching and pitcher knowledge may be the best thing that ever could happen for Drew.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        Joe,

        I agree with you 100%. I don’t think Pap will or should ever have the opportunity to be assessed by Black. If nothing else the Nationals can’t risk not standing behind their best player. I think Pap is gone regardless the cost.

        If as you say the Lerners don’t trust Storen then he too may never get a chance to work with Black. The edict from the top may be: ‘go get O’Day and another setup guy and move on from Storen. This will be an interesting story line.

      • veejh - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:18 PM

        Paps is gone. Didn’t he already move out of the house he bought?

      • tcostant - Oct 29, 2015 at 2:52 PM

        JayB, hard to believe that Ted want MW fired after the playoffs and then le Rizzo pick an option for 2016 just a few months later…

  10. exposedindc - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    In Rizzo we trust……..In bullpen, not so much

  11. coop202 - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    whelp… no use in disagreeing now. go Bud

  12. edbrinkman - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Nats, this Bud’s for you.

  13. nats788 - Oct 29, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    hey all, starting up a Nats podcast and discussed the manager options for the Nats on our first episode:

    http://navyyardnotes.blogspot.com/2015/10/introducing-navy-yard-notes-podcast.html

    if you have 30 minutes to give it a listen we would really appreciate your support, criticism, complaints, etc!

  14. Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    So will he be BB on this blog, or is that taken by bowdenball? I suggest HRB (Harry Ralston Black), especially when we’re criticizing him. 🙂

    • Serious Jammage - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      Is it just me or does Harry Ralston Black seem like a Harry Potter character?

      • adcwonk - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        +7 !

    • trfwans - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:40 AM

      ‘Bud’ or ‘Black’ will suffice. Both have very few keystrokes and only one cap. HRB will autocorrect to HRC, Hillary Rodham Clinton. That might be an interesting juxtaposition on Opening Day 2017, though.

  15. Doc - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    It’s a good time to have a manager that can deal with pitchers. I look forward to someone who can put the bullpen in order and do the other necessary things that managing the pitchers entails.

    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      I agree, Doc. Who will be his bench coach?

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        I hear it’s probably Rich Renteria.

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    Mattingly to the Marlins.

    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      Poor guy. He deserves a better lot in life. That is a horrible organization to be employed by. BTW, I never thought that Donnie would be a fit here.

      • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:23 AM

        Well here’s the thing. Loria is a life long Yankee fan (former season ticket holder even when he bought the Expos) so I am not surprised he grabbed Donnie Baseball when he became available and Donnie jumped at the 1st opportunity to work somewhere where he was picked, not inherited.

        I think Loria is still paying about 3 or 4 managers he fired and yeah that’s a crappy place to work with no real fan base and a meddling owner but they do have some talent so it will be interesting to see how Donnie does in his 2nd job. He needs to get a real good bench coach and someone to help him manage their pitchers because that is certainly not a Mattingly strength.

    • veejh - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:09 AM

      That didn’t take long

  17. veejh - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    I have a good feeling Black won’t be asleep at the wheel. No more bunting the baserunner on 1st to 2nd with Harper on deck. No more leaving Scherzer in for complete games when the game is firmly in control.

  18. veejh - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Based on our track record with managers, does anyone think Black gets more than a 2 year deal?

    • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:27 PM

      I think it’s been reported or strongly rumored that it’s a two year deal.

  19. rmoore446 - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    I like the hire of Black and will be interested in seeing the coaches who become part of his team.

  20. NatsLady - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    Yes. The Royals are good. I watched both teams in their respective DS and CS series–I wish I had put in writing my original feeling that they would sweep the Mets. I still can’t believe all the analysts who say the teams are “evenly matched” or who picked the Mets in six.

    (1) The Royals are on a mission. Every member of their organization, from ownership to scouts, players, coaches, etc. is dedicated to one thing and one thing only, a WS ring. They’ve been here before, and they’re not leaving without it. The Mets are like the 2012 Nats, they got to OZ and are finding out they’re not in Kansas anymore–oh, wait…

    (2) Ned Yost isn’t as stupid as he looks. You won’t see Cueto in Citi Field. Terry Collins is: hasn’t figured out his outfield alignment and hello, Kelly Johnson for DH?

    (3) Good pitching beats good hitting–except when it doesn’t. For example, when the pitching is young and tired, and throws too many strikes at a team that refuses to strike out. Collins misaligned his rotation, and now he is stuck with the rookie Syndergaard in the MUST WIN Game 3. I wish him luck with that, because it may be the only game the Mets win. Then Matz, who, though talented, won’t go more than five innings, and then back to Harvey and deGrom, both tapped out.

    (4) Defense matters. So does every member of the bullpen, not just the closer. And, speaking of the closer, so cool how the Royals figured out Familia’s tricks.

    Plus, as I said, I watched both teams for weeks. A no-doubter.

    • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      I picked Royals in 6 (you can look it up), and still expect the Mets to win at least one game. But the Royals are hungry, they are balanced, their lineup can string hits together to come from behind in the late innings (something the Mets haven’t done this postseason at all), and they have that lights out bullpen. The Mets starters are better, but as we saw the past two nights, Volquez and Cueto.

      • NatsLady - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:40 PM

        The Mets might have done better against the Blue Jays, power pitching vs power hitting. But the Royals just aren’t playing that game. And, as you note, Volquez and Cueto are not slouches (neither is Ventura). They may not have the velocity of the Mets’ starters but they know how to pitch.

      • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 3:55 PM

        Indeed they do. Exactly what I said in debating this point with jd after making the Royals in 6 prediction.

      • virginiascopist - Oct 29, 2015 at 4:39 PM

        And speaking of Royals pitchers knowing how to pitch, how about Chris Young? Wasn’t supposed to pitch in game 1 and worked three innings without giving up a hit. It will be interesting to see how he does in game 4.

      • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        Good point. Maybe the Mets hitters will be a little more ready to handle him. But that was a big time relief appearance from a guy who was supposed to have the day off.

        I hear that he was the only player who was informed about Volquez’s dad because he would have been the spot starter if Volquez found out and wanted to leave. Amazing stuff in that game.

    • virginiascopist - Oct 29, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      Great post, NatsLady. I haven’t been watching both teams religiously through the post-season, but it certainly seems as if the Royals have the “not to be denied” attitude about them. At least Terry Collins had the sense not to start Syndergaard in KC, although look at all the pressure that’s on him now to try to prevent them from going down 0-3.

    • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      But at the same time the Royals were this close to being knocked out by the Astros and to losing game 1 to the Mets. That’s the nature of playoff baseball. It’s more luck that people want to admit.

      Good point about the Mets young pitching but really Collins didn’t have much leeway because they are all very similar to one another. I for one don’t believe that this series is over by a long shot (I am rooting hard for the Royals or more accurately against the Mets). The big surprise to me so far is how well the Royals starters have pitched. Neither of the 1st 2 pitchers have been all that consistent recently, we know Cueto has it in him to pitch great but he doesn’t always do it.

  21. langleyclub - Oct 29, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Like the hire. Black will get the max out of the pitching staff and the bullpen. That said, not all of the Nats problems in 2015 were attributable to MW (poor defense, weak bullpen, imbalanced offense that strikes out too much). In addition to the current flawed roster, the Nats lose Desmond and Jordan Zimmerman (and possibly Span). Black could work magic in 2015, and the team as presently constituted has too many holes.

    One of the biggest issues outside of the bullpen is what to do with Yunel Escobar. The root of many of the Nats problems is that playing him at 3rd weakened the Nats’ defense at 2nd and 3rd. With that said, Escobar lacks the lateral movement to play SS at this point, and 2b is not a position where you can stash a bat. Despite the defense issues that Escobar causes, he was the Nats’ 2nd most reliable bat, and a Danny Espinosa/Trey Turner middle infield is shaky at best offensively and potentially an utter disaster for the lineup (would anyone be shocked if Espinosa struggles to get above the Mendoza line next year, and Turner’s bat is not MLB ready?). My strong preference would be trade Escobar, but only if the Nats can add a solid middle infield option that can hit lefty (was kind of hoping for Daniel Murphy, but his post-season explosion likely makes him too pricey).

    • jd - Oct 29, 2015 at 3:19 PM

      With all the flaws you correctly point out this team should have won the division going away. All teams are flawed. I agree with your analysis about Escobar and additionally I also think there is a very good chance he won’t hit as well next year. There is also the probability that Turner starts the year in the minors, so yes Rizzo has a lot to think about here but the starting point has to be Rendon at 3rd.

      Murphy has burst on the scene this post season but he plays a real below average defense at 2nd base and his current streak is not really representative of his standard production. His would definitely be a ‘buy high’ proposition and I wouldn’t go there. The player I really like is Ben Zobrist, I think he is a free agent also but he too is in the process of becoming very rich.

      • langleyclub - Oct 29, 2015 at 3:52 PM

        Rizzo wanted Zobrist last off-season. Would love to get him. His price will be high as well.

    • Section 222 - Oct 29, 2015 at 4:35 PM

      Second base is absolutely a position where you can sacrifice defense if needed. You don’t want to, but it’s often done. That’s where Daniel Murphy plays, and he’s no Danny Espinosa with the glove. And there’s Dan Uggla, surely a defensive liability. Gee, maybe being named Dan is a prerequisite for the job. But I digress.

      Because 3B is Rendon’s natural position and he is so superior there, that has to be his position next year. I expect Esco will start at 2B unless we trade him. Hopefully he’ll play that position as well as he played 3B, which wasn’t that great I admit. Turner won’t be called up until mid-season for service time reasons, and that should help him rake when he finally arrives.

      Can Espi hit well enough to hold down the starting SS position all year long? That’s the big question about our lineup.

  22. Jeff - Oct 29, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    Hitting coach ? Alonzo Powell??
    Pitching coach. Too soon for Paul
    Menhart
    3 b coach. Bud reunion with Ron Roenecke
    ???
    Devon White should return ?? Lol

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