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Nats announce Baker hired, given multi-year contract

Nov 3, 2015, 8:23 AM EDT

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In a stunning twist to cap a tumultuous 24 hours, the Nationals announced Tuesday morning they have hired Dusty Baker as their new manager, negotiations with initial choice Bub Black having fallen apart over the weekend.

Baker, a 3-time NL Manager of the Year Award winner with 20 seasons of experience at the big-league level, receives a “multi-year contract,” the club announced. No more contract details were released.

“We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship,” managing principal owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. “During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty’s deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub.”

That wasn’t the Nationals’ initial conclusion. After meeting at least eight candidates for the job over several weeks, the club informed former Padres manager Bud Black on Wednesday he was the choice, according to a source familiar with the decision. The two sides then attempted to negotiate a contract, but talks fell apart when the Nationals were unwilling to offer Black more than two guaranteed years, the source said.

Unable to find common ground, the club then turned back to Baker, who had been the other finalist for the job, and hashed out details of this deal with the 66-year-old late Monday night.

Whether the Nationals made a better offer to Baker than Black isn’t clear yet, but the organization has never previously given its manager more than two guaranteed years since the Lerner family took over as owners in 2006. (Davey Johnson, the highest-paid of the team’s previous five skippers, did have an extra year on his deal to serve as a consultant with the team after he left the dugout following the 2013 season.)

Baker has a wealth of experience with the Giants, Cubs and Reds, having guided all three franchises to the postseason and the 2002 Giants to the World Series (where they lost to the Angels team that employed Black). The former major-league outfielder won three NL Manager of the Year awards with San Francisco (1993, 1997, 2000) and owns a 1,671-1,504 overall record.

Fired by the Reds after losing the 2013 NL Wild Card Game to the Pirates, Baker has been out of baseball the last two seasons but has sought multiple managerial openings, including the Nationals’ job two winters ago. The Nats didn’t interview him that time, ultimately selecting Matt Williams off Arizona’s coaching staff, but included him in the process this time and clearly were impressed with the California native during his pair of interviews.

“I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “In getting to know Dusty and identifying what we wanted in the next on-field leader of our team, we are excited to have him on board. Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor. I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I am very much looking forward to working with him.”

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. joemktg - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    With the way Dusty handles starters’ pitch counts, the bullpen is no longer a concern. Poof! Bullpen problem solved.

    Note to Lucas Giolito: run.

    • lphboston - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      Only because Connie Mack is dead.

  2. natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Terrible. The Front Office that can’t shoot straight. Another Rizzo FUBAR. In Rizzo we can’t trust because he is too busy lowballing everybody. Terrible.

    • hokiepokster92 - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:47 AM

      To be fair to Rizzo, this reeks of the Lerner’s penny pinching philosophy.

      • janebeard - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:46 PM

        agree with hokie

      • Sonny G 10 - Nov 3, 2015 at 1:03 PM

        I’m afraid you’re right, hokie. This really stresses me. How many years is it going to take for the Lerners to learn their lesson? Ted, you haven’t got much time left if you want to see a winner.

  3. donniebenth - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Dumpster fire

  4. tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    Jim Riggleman was right about the Nationals. It back fired, but he was right…

    • mlblogsnatsboy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:43 AM


      • knoxvillenat - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:21 AM


  5. langleyclub - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    Couldn’t be more disappointed. So shortsighted to pass on the top candidate because of money when the manager’s salary is significant to team payroll. Talk to any Cubs or Reds fan about Dusty Baker, and the will tick off an endless list of ill-advised moves. His handling of pitching staffs is legendarily bad. Have no doubt that this will end in disastrous fashion.

    My hope for this team over the next couple of years just dropped like a rock. Honestly, if money was that big of a concern, would rather the Nats let MW finish out his contract, and then start off with a clean slate in 2017, but to let money dictate who you will hire is the quintessential definition of short[sided thinking.

    • langleyclub - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      Meant to say “insignificant as compared to team payroll”.

      The rest of MLB is loving this hire. You didn’t hear Dusty Baker legitimately linked to any other job.

    • sillsfan - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      Can’t say it any better.
      One of the reasons I quit being a Cubs fan and became a NATS fan was to escape the trainwreck that is Dusty.
      NATS epic hiring fail.

    • tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      I now believe that MW would have managed this year (with no option picked up), if the Papelbon-Harper fight didn’t happen! Really!

    • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      langley, I don’t think it was the money. I think it was the years. I don’t believe it would have been a good Idea to commit to Black for 4 guaranteed years. He may be a good manager but he’s done nothing but lose in his 8 years in San Diego. Probably not his fault but it’s not he elevated that team beyond their talent level.

      Say what you want about Dusty but he’s won everywhere.

      • texnat1 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        Jd, the years/money thing is a distinction without a difference. The years only matter because of the guaranteed money.

        Baker better not wear out our arms. Going into next season, one of my major concerns was the manager stopping Scherzer from going on a streak of huge pitching count games like he had the middle of this year. And Baker is known for running pitchers into the ground.

        How is that consistent with Rizzo’s philosophy? Did Rizzo get vetoed here?

  6. Section 222 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Stunning. You have to love a guy one whose formative experiences was seeing Jimi Hendrix at Monterrey, and he may be just the ticket to rebuild the clubhouse. But I expect his in-game decisionmaking will give all of us arm-chair managers plenty to complain about.

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      Doesn’t every manager?

      • hokiepokster92 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:08 AM


    • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Just for the record, it’s spelled with one “r” in California.

      • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        (Monterey, that is.)

      • Section 222 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        I could claim that I noticed that as soon as I pressed Post Comment and wished there were an edit button, but that would be a lie. I stand corrected.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:15 AM

        But … MLB was talking about putting the Expos in Monterrey at one point, so you see, it all ties together if you stick around long enough.

    • natslive - Nov 3, 2015 at 4:49 PM

      Maybe he will hire great coaches and take naps in the dugout and let them run the team 🙂

  7. natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    I have been so ashamed of this team since September. I I’m a free agent I wouldn’t want to come here. If I’m Desmond or JZIM I’d be glad I was going. If I’m Scott Boras I would be counting the days till Strasburg and Harper can go.

    • janebeard - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:49 PM

      Yes yes yes. Sigh

  8. acethehammer - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    I haven’t been this disappointed in an announcement since Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, so maybe this will work out fine as well…

    Seriously though, this is a disaster.

  9. tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    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!

  10. Social Sam - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Horrible. Just horrible. They would have been better off keeping Williams.

    • tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:45 AM

      I don’t agree there, Baker is easy over Williams.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:47 AM

        I feel like they are the same person. Hell, if Dusty was the choice, I say you might as well just keep MW.

      • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:10 AM

        You think they are the same based on what mrsb?

  11. pchuck69 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Who in their right mind thinks Dusty Baker should be managing a major league baseball team in 2016? This is simply stunning.

  12. Whack-A-Mule - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    As one muses over this latest episode, one is left with the notion that Mr. Baker (and Mr. Baker’s experience) fit right in with the Nats team concept –
    to lead a team with World Championship talent which will never advance beyond the NLCS.
    That seem to be the team/corporate goal, and Dusty fits right in.

  13. mlblogsnatsboy - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    When people prefer Matt Williams to this hire, you’ve got a problem.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    I am not a happy person at all this morning.

    I personally dont care about who reported what or any of that. I am ticked with the hiring of Dusty. Did not want him at all. I wish they had just gone back to the drawing board.

    But this makes me have bigger questions on who is pulling what strings etc and if Rizzo and the Lerners are speaking the language when it comes to money.

  15. terpman2003 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    I’m really happy about this hire. I know people are complaining how he killed the arms of Prior and Wood, but somebody, anybody, please posts some statistical data that explains how this happened. Otherwise, all I can say is pitchers get hurt all over MLB.

    In addition, I like that he’s old school. Hate to go back to 2012, but maybe if Baker would’ve been the manager, we could have extended Strausburg, you know, like Collins extended Harvey and they went to the World Series.

    Lastly, I know Bud Black is great with bullpens, but he won NOTHING! Let me repeat…..NOTHING!!!

  16. weissagmailcom - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    What does it say that the dysfunctional Marlins got the Manager they wanted and finalized a deal quickly and the Nats are hiring Dusty Baker. The Nats will be looking at Mets tail lights for years

    • NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      I don’t have one bit of manager-envy over Donnie Baseball. They can have him.

      • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        I know the Marlins are still paying Fuillen and Redmond at least. I wouldn’t use them as an example of how to run a baseball team. Giving Mattingly 4 years smacks to me like an invitation to pay another manager for not managing.

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:50 AM

      What the quickness of the Mattingly deal says to me is that it was being negotiated before he even left LA.

  17. jfmii - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    I love the hire, except for Dusty’s age. Why so much bile NatsInsiders?

    • tcostant - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      I don’t hate the choice, I hate they moved on from there first choice because they wouldn’t go to three years.

      • knoxvillenat - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM


    • knoxvillenat - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      Isn’t Baker younger at this time than Davey Johnson was when the Nats hired him?

  18. b12071 - Nov 3, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Strange road to get here, but we are way better off than we were a month ago.

  19. jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    First of all let me say that I hoped the Nats would sign a younger more progressive manager. Having said that I want to also say that I wasn’t all that thrilled with the Bud Black choice and if he insisted on 4 years I am glad they didn’t give it to him.

    Having said that let’s take a step back. Baker went to the world series with the Giants, went to the NLCS with the Cubs and won a division with the Reds and had a winning record in each of the stops. He has a good reputation as far as people skills are concerned and is not wound tight like MW. To compare him to MW is ludicrous. He can out manage MW with half his brain tied behind his back.

    While I don’t consider Baker a great manager I don’t think he will be a net negative. I expect him to be a sum zero manager but he will be a lot more fun to have here than MW. The key will be the coaches. I hope they get a young bench coach someone like Phil Nevin or Alex Cora and I hop they sign a top notch pitching coach like Mike Maddux.

    • NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      I’m thinking along the same lines you are (see below). Coaches will be key. Baker has managed lots of high-profile guys. I read somewhere the only “star” player Black managed was Adrian Gonzalez, probably the nicest guy in baseball.

      Yes, like any other manager, us fans will out-maneuver him in half the games. How about we give him a chance?

      • Dave - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:18 AM


      • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        I’m with JD on this.

  20. TimDz - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Rizzo: Dusty? We changed our minds…Do you still want the gig?
    Dusty: Changed your minds? Do you mean that you decided I was the better choice than Bud?
    Rizzo: Well…..not exactly….
    Dusty: All the outlets had Bud getting the gig….
    Rizzo: Yeah…well…..SO….You want the gig?
    Dusty: Sounds like I was your second choice, fallback option, ya know?
    Rizzo: (silence)
    Dusty: Any self-respecting man would tell you to get bent.
    Rizzo: So, you’ll take the gig…excellent, I’ll tell Papa Lerner….

  21. Nats Fan Zee - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Bad move – this sucks!

  22. NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    I don’t see the problem with Dusty Baker. It was reported from the beginning that the Lerners liked him better than Black, so I would guess they deferred to Rizzo (as “the baseball man”) but limited him on the budget to hedge their bet. Baker’s rep for burning out pitchers’ arms is decades old, he has learned, science has learned since then. Also, we don’t know who will be the pitching coach but you can bet Boras will be in there protecting his guys.

    My only concern is Baker’s health. I hope he got a good medical OK for taking a high stress job again.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:11 AM


    • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:17 AM


      You make a good point. I think Dusty earned his reputation as a pitcher killer with his handling of Wood and Prior. Dusty is not a stupid man and as you saw with Harvey, these days there are plenty of people in a players corner protecting their health + Rizzo is famous for protecting young arms. I am sure he won’t let Dusty go crazy with Ross and Giolito.

      Also I don’t think Black’s record justifies a 4 year commitment. I am a little surprised that he insisted on that given that there is now only 1 job left in the majors and I don’t think Freedman is inclined to look at Black. At the age of 58 I would have thought he’d jump on an opportunity to get a 2 year deal with a talented, big budgeted team like the Nats.

      • veejh - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

        If I was going to have to leave paradise in San Diego to move to DC, I’d wanna a 4 year guarantee, too. LOL

      • NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        jd, exactly. I want a guy who WANTS the job. Seriously.

        The Royals won the WS because they WANTED it more than any other team. Yes, they are talented, etc. etc. But they were stung by 2014 and from Day One, all they played for was November.

        I believe our guys want it (you KNOW Werth does!), so it’s a matter of keeping focus through injuries, slumps, controversies, bad-luck and everything that happens in a long season. Our guys have to feel it is OUR TURN, starting in spring training.

      • texnat1 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        Ok, but sometimes its the starter himself who wants to keep throwing pitches. Like Max. Will Dusty look at this season and decide that Max should not be allowed to go on one of those streaks of games with well over 100 plus pitches?

        Max needs someone to overrule his desire to stay in games too long. Is Dusty that guy?

    • Dave - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      As is so often the case, NatsLady, you are the voice of reason on a day of general wild fulmination and knee-jerk freakouts. Thank you.

      • letswin3 - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:22 PM

        It’s now late in the afternoon, Dave, but I was just having the same thoughts about NL’s and a couple other’s perspective. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

    • Section 222 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      +1 NL. This burning out pitchers arms stuff is way in the rear view mirror. I’m looking forward to hearing what he thinks about modern analytics and defense shifts. Older managers like Clint Hurdle and Joe Madden have bought in, and they are among the greats. If Dusty can change with the times like them, we’ll be in good shape. He certainly is a winner and should have the respect of the players.

      • Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:53 AM

        Many experts will tell you that the damage to Woods was done more by Riggleman than Baker.

      • knoxvillenat - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:31 AM


        What experts are laying Woods injuries on Riggleman?

      • trfwans - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:08 PM

        You don’t have to be an expert to see that it was Riggleman who was Wood’s manager when he was a young pitcher in danger of being damaged. By the time Baker managed him, he was already damaged goods.

      • knoxvillenat - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:51 PM

        turfwans, Riggleman had Woods for 1 season, 1998 and he pitched in 166.2 innings that season. Yes he had elbow soreness and was held out for several weeks before pitching against Atlanta in the playoffs that year. Was that on Riggleman or the front office? I don’t know, just asking. Woods was injured early in 1999, maybe spring training , I’m not sure about that and had TJ surgery as a result and missed the entire 1999 season. Baker took over the Cubs in 2000,

  23. jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    BTW, here is what I think I know about Dusty:

    1) Loves small ball. Overuses sacrifices.
    2) Trusts his starting pitchers, will let them try to pitch out of jams.
    3) Point 2 will work very well with Scherzer, Strasburg, Gio.
    4) The organization needs to be very careful with Dusty’s handling of Ross and Giolito.

    I am so looking forward to human level interactions between the press and Dusty. Matt was hard to take.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:11 AM


    • kkpp3 - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      I don’t understand how any manager can think small ball works as a strategy over a whole season.

      • NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        Except in Kansas City, of course. 😉

        Seriously, there is “small ball,” meaning excessive bunts and other overmanaging, and there is “keep the line moving and put the ball in play” meaning don’t strike out, don’t wait for the three-run homer (and don’t swing for it all the time–right, Desi????)

      • garyfromcville - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        Did you just watch the World Series? How can you now say that small ball does not work?

      • kkpp3 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:15 AM

        By small ball I meant sacrificing, giving away outs to advance runners. Statistically that doesn’t work. Sacrificing a guy to second actually REDUCES your run expectancy. Keeping the line moving, tough at bats, putting the ball in play, that’s all solid baseball. One of the reasons the Royals won is that they do not give away outs.

    • texnat1 - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      Again, the organization also needs to watch how he handles Max as well. They have a huge investment in him, and we saw Max get burned out for a long stretch last year.

  24. Andrew Cain - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    The handling of this move was another embarrassment. If Bud Black is the guy you want in order to turn the page, why the short leash? Pay the man.

    Now you’ve got another short timer and you’ll have to start over yet again within three or four years, tops.

    What a freaking mess.

    • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:19 AM

      When you say Pay the man do you think it’s a good idea to commit for 4 years? This is what the Marlins do and I think they are still paying about half a dozen ex managers. I think a 2 year commitment is completely reasonable.

    • NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      Honestly, short term, long term, that is not the issue. We need a guy who can steer this ship to at least a WS berth, given its talent. If Dusty does that in 2016 or 2017, I don’t care about the length of his contract. I don’t care about “stability.” We already went that route (getting a younger guy who would “grow” with the team and manage for ten years.) That didn’t work out…

      • rmoore446 - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:46 AM


  25. Drew - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    What reason is there to think we should have confidence that Dusty can handle a pitching staff?

    Who’s going to make Dusty Baker use analytics?

    • Dave - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      What actual evidence is there that Dusty “doesn’t use analytics”? Are you saying that he has never analyzed a particular batter’s performance against a particular pitcher? I find that hard to believe.

      If you mean he doesn’t have a pitcher’s xFIP at his fingertips or knows what fWAR a player ended last season with, well, maybe so. But I’m not sure that means nobody in the dugout will be looking at those kinds of things.

  26. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    Well that was certainly an eye-opener; I had missed the ‘Black Deal May Not Happen’ posts overnight and got an alert to the effect that ‘Nats Hire Baker’ . . . okay. Like others, I would have preferred Bud Black, for multiple reasons. But I’m still glad they’ve gone with a manager with MLB managerial experience. In the end, the manager isn’t going to make as much difference as many people believe.

    • jd - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:22 AM


      That’s exactly my point. I think most managers are as good as the talent they are give. Dusty certainly fits in that category. MW was one of a few managers who probably was less than a sum zero manager so it’s certainly an upgrade and personality wise it’s an easy win.

  27. TimDz - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Look at the bright side….I doubt anyone will be hearing “Can I just get my ring now?’ comments. May even take the pressure off…
    I guess we’ll know soon enough…

  28. veejh - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    If I was going to have to leave paradise in San Diego to move to DC, I’d wanna a 4 year guarantee, too. LOL

  29. naterialguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Welcome Dusty. takes us to the mountain top, prove all the Naysayers wrong and excuse me while I kiss the sky…

  30. pdowdy83 - Nov 3, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    This article sums up my Dusty Baker opinion perfectly. The people who bash him for pitcher usage are talking about something from when ALL pitchers were overused.

    • ArVAFan - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks for the link. I was wondering if maybe the “he wears out young pitchers’ arms'” reputation might be a little stale. Thank you for confirming that it is (Giolito, you can come out from behind the couch where you were hiding).

      I’m not going to say I feel sorry for Dusty, but I will say I extend some sympathy. Everyone knows you were the second choice, and only got the job because you were cheaper in dollars/years/both. I know that’s going to make it a bit more difficult to start out on the right foot.

      And Vegas, FWIW, liked the move. Yesterday the WS odds for the Nats were 12/1, today 10/1. I know: that and $5.75 will get you a Pumpkin Spice latte.

    • Dave - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:31 AM

      That’s a good article. The comments below it, however, are pretty frantic and breathless.

  31. jskurtzke - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Bottom line: the Nats have replaced a novice manager who had lost the clubhouse with a veteran with playoff experience.

  32. jfmii - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    He has won at every stop. Bud has not. It may be a problem that Dusty is 66, but with this team’s window of opportunity, a 2-year contract sounds just about right for anyone. Dusty probably got something similar to what Bud was offered–so how terrible was the offer? Maybe Dusty just wants it more. Bring on 2016.

  33. peewilly - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    It sounded as if it was a toss up between Black and Baker so if choice #1 doesn’t accept the team’s terms it’s easy to move on to choice #1A. I don’t see where Black had any leverage to dictate terms. I seem to remember he had an uneasy relationship with the front office in SD that led to his firing. It’s not as if the Nats panicked and plucked some obscure manager from A ball.

    • homeparkdc - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      And we still don’t know if Bud Black is interested interviewing with the Dodgers.

  34. Doc - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Goofy decision, plain goofy!

    The fabled Nats’ FO can scout players, but can’t scout managers.

    If I were a season ticket holder, I’d want my money back!

  35. homeparkdc - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    Well…across the MLB, people are shaking their heads about the Dusty Baker hire. The Cubs are favored (as of yesterday) to win the 2016 World Series. Therefore, no pressure whatsoever this year on Nats’ players, IMO. The pressure’s on Baker to get the best coaches available. And pressure on Rizzo to get rid of Papelbon, find a bat somewhere, and improve the bullpen. Looking forward to a productive winter.

    • homeparkdc - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      In addition to the improvement of a toothpick over sunflower seeds, Dusty Baker was a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1969 through 1975. Not like MW and the phony nickname. 🙂 Yes, I’m trying to be positive.

      • funnationals - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        awesome, worthy of a tweet

      • infideljack - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:30 PM


      • infideljack - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:32 PM

        One of the things that turned me off to MW from the beginning.

      • letswin3 - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:53 PM

        Good one.

  36. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Okay, so it’s official. The man does have years of (regular and postseason) experience, and a winning record. He’s likely learned a thing or two about managing young pitchers since his days with the Cubbies. Here’s hoping they’ll hire a pitching coach with experience in managing young guys. FP likes him, if memory serves, so there’s that. I do wish the team had gone with Baker from the get-go, rather than it seeming that he was second choice to Black. The way it played out doesn’t make the organization look good, and here I’d been thinking they had this whole search and hiring process all squared away. Plus, it’s rather rude to Baker, imo. Hope he got more from them than they offered Black. Maybe he should also have a toothpick and sweatband provision clause in there. Anyway, welcome to Dusty and let’s go NATS!!

    • natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:43 AM

      He got the same bad deal. Read MLBTR.

    • letswin3 - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      Under Armour deals for toothpicks and sweatbands are likely in the works.

  37. langleyclub - Nov 3, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Maybe Mark could get some “insider” info, but from what I’ve heard from various sources including Bob Nightengale and John Heyman. The Lerners low-balled Black from the outset.

    The initial offer to Bud Black was 1 year for 1.6 million which is almost in the interim manager offer range. Ultimately, the Nats offered Black a second year (and it’s not clear whether the 2nd year was fully guaranteed or simply guaranteed if certain incentives were made). The total value of the deal was less than 4 million for 2 years.

    By way of comparison, the Marlins signed Mattingly (who I agree would not be my top choice) for 4 years for $10 million.

    Never heard that Black wanted a 4 year deal; I did hear he wanted a 3 year deal, and the Nats refused to give him 3 years. Also, heard that among managers (and managers’ agents), the Nats offer was surprisingly low for Black, and they completely backed him for not caving into the Lerners.

    Baker, who is 66, immediately accepted 2 years guaranteed, and had no other teams interested in him.

    Have also heard that the Nats will not pay top dollar for coaches. So, the Nats are not bringing Mike Maddux as a pitching coach. The Lerners have a rigid philosophy about non-player payroll costs. We shall see if that philosophy costs them or not.

    • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:04 AM

      Not sure that anyone in the media nailed down the Baker terms, but definitely sounds like the entire process was a goat rope:

      • trfwans - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        The process was not a “goat roap” or a “soap opera” or a “fiasco” at all. The media’s taking rumors and playing them as facts is the fiasco. The Nats followed standard executive/management practice from any industry. They interviewed multiple candidates and ranked them according to preference, then attempted to negotiate a deal with their first choice. When that fell through, they moved on to their second choice and negotiated a deal with him. The Nats did nothing wrong here. It’s not Rizzo’s or the Lerners’ fault that the process did not play itself out behind closed doors.

    • texnat1 - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      It would be extremely foolish to pay so much money for players only to let financial considerations of a much smaller scope govern your decisions for manager and coaches.

      So I’m hoping that’s not true.

    • npb99 - Nov 3, 2015 at 5:24 PM

      I was about to suggest any managerial candidate negotiating with the Lerners hire Boras. Five year deal at $5 million per year.

  38. Joe Seamhead - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    Something I haven’t heard mentioned is that most people thought Bud Black would bring Darren Balsey with him to be the pitching coach, but Balsey re-signed to stay with San Diego Balsey is considered somewhat of a genius and I think he might have been part of the expected Black package.Balsey officially decided to stay in SD over the weekend.

  39. natsfansince62 - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    Just for the record, here is an article that did a statistical analysis of Baker’s pitch count for starting pitchers in 2006 at the end of his run with the Cubs. It looks like Cubs’ pitchers threw approximately 3.68 pitches per game more than “expected” vs. a league average. That’s not too bad. It would be interesting to see a similar analysis of his Cincy years. Anyway just food for thought.

  40. philipd763 - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Manager of the year awards (3 for Baker) don’t mean squat to me after they gave one to Matt Williams last year.

  41. natslifer - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Here’s the only way this makes sense to me:
    – Rizzo wanted Black and Lerners wanted Baker
    – Lerners said yes but didn’t give Rizzo the money
    – Deal blows up and we go to Baker

    If that’s the case, then Rizzo’s not in a good spot with the Lerners.

    And regardless of Baker’s skill, that leaves us with an uncomfortable relationship between our GM and our new Manager who appears to have at least a Davey level ego so is definitely not looking for advice from Rizzo about how to manage.

    Besides my brother the Reds fan rolling his eyes at me, Bob Nightengale (broke the story) reports that Dusty never liked Joey Votto walking so much – which, IMO was the key to Harper’s about to be announced MVP season. I think that relationship is at least as important as what he does with our pitching staff.

    • langleyclub - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Very reasonable to think that part of the reason for the events of the past week is that Rizzo wanted Black and the Lerners wanted Baker, If that’s the case, Rizzo’s days in DC are numbered.

      • natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        Thats what occurred to me.

    • janebeard - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:56 PM

      Sounds well-reasoned, lifer. Makes sense.

  42. trfwans - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Re Bud Black being “insulted” by the Nats’ offer: First off, player salaries have become cartoonish in the FA era and need to be removed from the conversation. Second, baseball is an entertainment business. Any 58 year old man with a nine-year record of producing a loser product who is insulted by an offer of $1.6M a year for what is basically a middle management position in his industry needs to have his head examined. As for the two year contract with option years, that is basically what Rizzo is working under now himself. No team is going to tie themselves to a manager beyond what they’ve tied themselves to for their GM. No smart team, anyway.

    • langleyclub - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      Markets determine value. Bud Black is not seen as a 58 year-old producing a loser product. The Padres out-performed their talent level for most of his tenure, and he is considered among the best, if not the best, at handling pitching staffs. Offering a one year take it or leave deal for new manager hire is substantially below market.

  43. adcwonk - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Yowza — I’m glad the tide is changing a little bit. When I woke up this morning and read the early comments, I thought that Baker/Rizzo/Lerner were the cause of all that is wrong with the Nats, with baseball, and global warming, too.

    We don’t exactly know what the negotiations were, or Black’s demands, and we weren’t in on the interviews — but it’s certainly reasonable to want to stay away from a 4-year guaranteed deal for a guy (Black) who had his past record.

    In Baker, I see a guy who had three prior gigs: of 10, 4, and 6 years (umm, longer than any Nats manager has lasted). In three of his last four years his teams won 90+ games. He can’t be _that_ much of disaster as so many folks above are saying . . .

    • natsguy - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:46 AM

      Have you bothered to read MLBTR. If not read it and you will see what a fubar this was and see how ridiculous the Nats are looking. Rizzo is looking bad.

  44. philipd763 - Nov 3, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    From MLB Rumors:

    On the other hand, Baker has long been a prime analytical example of in-game decisionmaking problems. As Neil Weinberg wrote near the end of Baker’s tenure in Cincinnati, his lineup construction, bullpen management, and proclivity to bunt all can and have been questioned. And Baker was blamed in many quarters for over-using young arms with the Cubs, though it’s hard to imagine that becoming an issue in D.C., which drew fire for its late-season shutdown of Stephen Strasburg.

  45. NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    Totally off-topic. Someone on my Facebook timeline pointed this out. Who will be watching on Opening Day in Kansas City when the Royals have their ring ceremony?

    • natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:39 PM


    • janebeard - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      Oh cruel fate!

  46. NatsLady - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Meanwhile, apparently Bud Black’s wife was the source of the leaks about the $1.6 million offer and the “lack of respect.”

    • Dave - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Well then. That’s a little bit different from, say, his agent or somebody close the negotiations.

  47. funnationals - Nov 3, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Anyone else surprised that it was Bud Black that was lowballed and apparently insulted, and not the other way around, i.e. Baker? (3x MOY, multipostseason appearances, 2nd only to Bochy in wins for active managers

  48. charchaf - Nov 3, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    This ticked me off until I realized that Ned Yost just won a World Championship.

    So if he can do it, certainly Baker can as well.





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