It appears that Bud Black will be named the new manager of the Washington Nationals.
Black, a former big league pitcher who was a member of the 1985 World Series champion Kansas City Royals, managed the San Diego Padres from 2007 until June 2015 when he was dismissed. The Padres only had two winning seasons under Black and never reached the post-season. They would miss the NL Wild Card in 2007 and would collapse at the end of the 2010 season.
But the Nationals have the kind of talent he could have only dreamed of in San Diego (saving for the free agent and trade acquistions the team made last off-season). The Nats wanted an experienced manager who had a good rapport with players. With this in mind, the final two candidates were Black and ex-Giants, Cubs and Reds manager Dusty Baker.
The Nats fired Matt Williams after the end of the 2015 regular season. After winning the NL East in 2014, the Nats were a major disappointment in 2015 finishing seven games back of the New York Mets. Williams lost control of the team and was inflexible concerning the use of the bullpen. Black has an excellent reputation where it concerns the handling of pitchers which probably gave him the edge over Baker in the Nats front office.
Of course hiring Black is only the first step. The Nats will need to be healthy, need to find a new closer (unless they make amends with Drew Storen) and need to overcome the Mets.
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