Nationals to hire Bud Black as manager

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File
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James Wagner of the Washington Post has the scoop on Matt Williams’ replacement:

The Nationals intend to hire former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black to become the sixth manager in the team history, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The Nationals have not announced Black’s expected hiring as Major League Baseball frowns upon teams making major announcements during the World Series.

The other finalist for the job was former Giants, Cubs, and Reds manager Dusty Baker. Ron Gardenhire, Phil Nevin, Alex Cora, Rick Renteria, and Randy Knorr were also in consideration early on, and there was some talk of Cal Ripken Jr. getting a look.

Black served as the manager of the Padres for eight-and-a-half seasons before getting canned this past June. He had a 649-713 record (.477) in San Diego and never reached the playoffs, but the 58-year-old former major league pitcher has always been considered a strong communicator and in-game strategist. This really feels like a great fit.

There was a strong emphasis on experience during the Nationals’ search for a new skipper after Matt Williams, a first-time manager, flopped so badly in his two-year stint.

Black inherits a Nats team with a massive budget and likely 2015 MVP Bryce Harper.