Nov 2, 2015, 11:11 PM EDT
The Nationals’ hiring of Bud Black as their next manager is not yet a done deal, the two sides having been unable to work out final contract details, leaving the door open for the club potentially to offer the job to Dusty Baker instead, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The Nationals’ front office had settled on Black last week as the choice to succeed the fired Matt Williams, but no official announcement was made, presumably out of deference to Major League Baseball’s request that clubs not make major news during the World Series. The two sides, though, still were discussing contract details and still had not hashed those out Monday, with the postseason now complete and teams no longer at the mercy of the league.
CBSsports.com was first to report the snag in talks with Black and possibility of an offer to Baker.
It wasn’t immediately clear what specifically got in the way of a signed contract, but the issue might involve the length of the deal. The Nationals typically have offered only two guaranteed years to previous managers, but experienced skippers like Black (who managed the Padres for 8 1/2 seasons before his firing in June) typically earn more job security than that.
If their talks with Black hit an impasse, the Nationals could reverse course and offer the job instead to Baker, the other known finalist for the position. The 66-year-old veteran — who has 20 seasons of experience managing the Giants, Cubs and Reds — impressed club officials during two rounds of interviews, according to sources, and was favored by some for the job over Black.
Baker hasn’t worked in baseball since being fired by Cincinnati following a loss to the Pirates in the 2013 NL Wild Card Game, but the former big-league outfielder has actively been seeking a return to the dugout since. He expressed interest in the Nationals’ opening two years ago but never got an interview with the club, which went on to hire Williams.
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