The Nationals will name Bud Black their new manager, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. James Wagner of the Washington Post first reported the news. The team may not confirm the news for several days because MLB frowns on clubs making major announcements during the World Series.
Earlier this week Heyman reported the Nationals appeared to be down to two finalists for the job: Black and Dusty Baker. GM Mike Rizzo said he would seek an experienced manager after firing Matt Williams, who had never managed in MLB when he was hired, a few weeks ago.
The Nationals came into the season as NL East favorites, if not World Series favorites. They instead went 83-79 and missed the postseason. Williams shouldered much of the blame, especially after his poor handling of the Jonathan Papelbon/Byrce Harper choking incident.
Black, 58, was fired by the Padres this summer after the team stumbled out of the gate following their splashy offseason. He spent eight and a half years in San Diego and led the team to a 649-713 (.477) record. That has more to do with the talent on the roster than Black’s shortcomings.
Black won the 2010 NL Manager of the Year award with the Padres and is very highly regarded within in the industry. There was some thought he would jump into a front office role this offseason rather than return to managing, but obviously that is not the case.
With the Nationals hiring Black, there are now three managerial openings in baseball: the Dodgers, Marlins and Padres. Miami is expected to hire former Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly some point soon.
Bud Black will be the next manager of the Nationals. (USATSI)
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