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Nats’ deal with Black not finalized, door still open for Baker

Nov 2, 2015, 11:11 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

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. 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.

  1. infideljack - Nov 2, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    This is crazy talk. Why did the FO leak that they had hired Bud Black? Did the Baseball press just make this up?
    Seems to me that if the Bud Black deal is a lie, then all options remain on the table. Not just Dusty Baker.
    I wonder if Black thought he could bring the SD pitching coach and when that evaporated the Nationals said goodbye?
    Well, seems like we will have some fun speculating for a few days.

  2. phillygirl1807 - Nov 2, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    I hope they can reach terms with Black. He is younger, and has been a pitcher himself. From all reports, he is good with bullpens. He establishes good rapport with his players.

    Baker has been a winning manager, but he has had ongoing health issues. We need a manager who will be able to stay longer than two years, if he is successful. This team needs vitality. When Davey Johnson was here, he was halfway out the door looking forward to retirement. He didn’t manage with passion. I worry that Baker will manage the same way.

  3. rmoore446 - Nov 2, 2015 at 11:30 PM

    I favored the hiring of Black but right now from reports that looks dead. The front office, which I assumed leaked the choice of Black looks stupid. They must have assumed Black would take the terms offered without negotiations. So now they turn back to Baker. Fine I watched Baker play for his early years with the Braves. Good guy. Knock on him were the murmurs that he chewed up young pitchers. Not convinced that is true. Jeeze, I hope not.

    • Sonny G 10 - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:23 AM

      The chewing up of young pitchers is what I worried about with Baker. I just hope this isn’t true if he’s hired. I really wanted to see Black get the job.

  4. natsguy - Nov 2, 2015 at 11:34 PM

    Per MLBTR Baker has been offered the job. What a FUBAR for Rizzo. He has pretty much pooched this one again. What the heck is going on with this front office?

  5. senators5 - Nov 2, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    Say it aint so, Joe…errr.. Mike

  6. coolhandbane - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:21 AM

    Something isn’t right here. We offered bud black less than we did Matt Williams.Thing is if they offer dusty that I don’t think he accepts also. Way too much experience, would be viewed as demeaning to him regardless of how much he sucks. That is what doesn’t make sense.

    Also, they can give Scherzer 210 million but can’t even give a good manager 2.5 million a year?

    • Doc - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:57 AM

      ;I agree. Pissing around with nickels when they gave Scherzer $20 bills!

      I’ll be disappointed if Black isn’t the guy. Like Dusty, but he’s had his day. Surely there were/are more qualified guys around besides Black and Baker????????

      • mwgchess - Nov 3, 2015 at 2:35 AM

        Matt Williams was a complete disaster last year. I truly hope that the Nats don’t hire another mediocre manager this year over 1 or 2 million. Hire a good manager to regain some trust from the fans. Another bad manager will cost the Nats a lot more than a couple million,

  7. NatsNut - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:31 AM

    Oh for crying out loud. How embarrassing. First chance he gets, I bet Rizzo is hightailing it outa here.

  8. sillsfan - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:35 AM

    Old tired mediocre Dusty Baker is the best Rizzo and NATS ownership can/ will do?
    If this is true, not a good omen for 2016.
    Cmon NATS! There has to be a better option.

  9. coolhandbane - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    So according to an article by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, they said quote

    “The Washington Nationals, in a stunning reversal, have offered Dusty Baker a two-year contract to become their next manager, ending negotiations with Bud Black, a person directly involved in the talks told USA TODAY Sports.”


    “By contrast, Don Mattingly, who has less experience, just received a four-year deal for about $10 million from the Miami Marlins.

    Matt Williams, who was fired by the Washington Nationals at the end of last season, received a three-year deal, and still will be paid $1 million in

    Baker earned $4 million in the final year of his contract
    when he was fired in 2013 by the Cincinnati Reds. Yet, throughout most
    of his managerial career, Baker worked on two-year deals.”

    James Wagner confirmed the offer Nightengale reported the Nationals offered to Black.

    With the information that is out as of this moment, I am embarrassed for our franchise. We say we want a manager with experence but cant give them the money or years they deserve. Come on, you gave huge contracts to Rzimm, Werth and Scherzer but cant pony up 8-10 million on 3-4 year deal with a manager who will do the team good? Whoever made the offer must believe the managers dont have an impact on the game as much as other teams believe. If not that, they are idiots


    • sillsfan - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:35 AM

      And what are they paying Papel-boner?
      Jesus, if this is true, what a spectacular fail by all involved.

      • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:43 AM

        I believe that figure is $11 million to Papelbon for 2016. (And I don’t care if they can’t trade him and have to pay it off. I want the man gone. But I digress.)

        But we can’t afford to hire an experienced skipper and, oh yeah, offer him some contract length in the interest of organizational consistency. Le. Sigh.

  10. Guapo - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    My theory is Dan Snyder bought this team quietly a year ago. This makes no sense. Scherzer makes no sense.

    On a serious note, this is the kind of bush league stuff that will cause guys like Harper to look elsewhere when FA time comes around. Players want to make $$$, that’s true. But they also want to win and be associated with first class orgs. The Nats do not appear to be that org.

  11. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    Wow, just wow. Here I thought the team had done due diligence, decided what they didn’t want, and what they *did* want, made a thorough search, and, oh yeah, picked someone with experience this go-round. Sounds like what we have instead is a major snafu. First, the leak during the WS. Then, the failure to clinch a contract. And then this [stuff] leaks out. So, we want an experienced manager, but we don’t want to pay him accordingly, and we don’t want to give him much time, either? Le. Sigh. How very embarrassing. And demoralizing.

    On an info note, filling in some blanks on what is believed to be the contract offer, from Wagner’s piece (link to full story below):

    “The Nationals chose Black on Wednesday, but the terms had to be ironed out. According to another person familiar with the situation, Black was “deeply offended” by the Nationals’ first offer and the talks didn’t get back on track after that. According to a tweet from an account believed to belong to Black’s wife, the initial offer was for one-year, $1.6 million.

    The high point of negotiations for the Nationals — despite a $165 million player payroll and some of the richest owners, the Lerner family, in baseball — was believed to be a two-year deal with team options for Black, according to another person familiar with the deal. USA Today reported the offer was for less than $2 million.”

  12. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    And oh btw, not to say that Matt’s time wasn’t up, but after word came out that lack of communication was among the reasons for letting him go, this charley foxtrot happens? Yeah, news flash. It seems that there may still be some communications issues in the organization. (Okay, I think I’m done now.)

  13. carlospaula - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    It’s official….Dusty

    • sillsfan - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      Fail fail fail.
      What a spectacular implosion.
      Raise your hands. Anyone think Harp Scherzer or Werth will even look down the bench and care?
      Harper in pinstripes all but official now

    • donniebenth - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      Redsk*ns on the Anacostia.

      And here I was thinking we finally had a model franchise in the district.

      Cardinals, Steelers, Red Wings, etc. These kinds of shenanigans don’t happen with solid, well-run, cohesive franchises.

      I have to think Rizzo is planning his exit strategy…. And we will lament that for years to come.

  14. tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    I was fine with Baker before the search started, but after you pick the guy you like, low ball him and then go to your second choice is a joke. We just paid $10M to Nate McLouth, surely we can afford to not insult Bud Black and give him a three year contract. What a joke. If you like the guy, paid him, instead of complaining what you need to pay Matt Williams this year. We should all thank Papelbon, because I realize now, if he didn’t choke Harper, Matt Williams would still be our manager!

  15. natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    This Front office is embarrassingly bad. What a bunch of FUBARs.

  16. natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    I am totally ashamed of the Nationals.

  17. tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    I now hope Baker comes in here, does great and they makes the Lerners pay him $5M a year on his next contract!

    • philipd763 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      Baker is so old he will be drooling by the time his initial contract expires!

  18. edbrinkman - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    Lowballing your first pick is low class. From a billionaire owner. And over chicken feed – in comparison to what the players make. Speaks volumes about the Lerners.

  19. philipd763 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    The penny-wise, pound foolish traits of the Lerners and Rizzo have agaiin surfaced! This is depressing news.

    • tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:31 AM

      Agree, reminds me of the early years, when they withheld all their rent because the ballpark wasn’t finished (but while they played games there) and also refused to reimburse scouts, because expense reports didn’t have enough backup.

      Very sad.

      I will say this again, we should all thank Papelbon, because I realize now, if he didn’t choke Harper, Matt Williams would still be our manager!

  20. Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    I guess I’m the only one here that doesn’t have a problem with this. I think Dusty Baker is going to be a ton of fun. Also, I was very lukewarm about Bud Black from the beginning.I’m excited!

    • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      Joe, I believe the reactions on this thread were to how the Black deal went, or didn’t go, down, as Baker’s hiring was not confirmed at that point.

      I hope that the team gave a decent offer to Baker, and that he’s learned some things about handling young pitchers.

      • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:35 AM

        er (after re-reading), at least some of the reactions on this thread do not relate to Baker. Coffee?

      • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:42 AM

        As to the Black negotiations? Who here was involved in what went down?

      • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        Nobody, but the leaks do not paint a pretty picture of the entire process (that being negotiations and communications with both candidates and media).

      • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:03 AM

        Nor do the reports from the media, members of whom evidently spoke directly to sources with knowledge of the situation. (Eh, but you probably already knew that none of us were involved in the negotiations. Okay, off to get more coffee.)

      • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        That piece by Kilgore only makes my opinion of Kilgore go down lower than it already is.





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