The Washington Nationals are set to name Bud Black their new manager, according to multiple sources. The development was first reported by The Washington Post..
Black parted ways with the San Diego Padres in June after managing the team for parts of nine seasons. He was voted NL Manager of the Year in 2010. Black also won a World Series as a player for Kansas City in 1985, and as a coach in 2002 in Anaheim.An official announcement will likely not come until after the World Series.
The Nationals have been searching for a replacement manager after Matt Williams was fired earlier this month following two seasons with the club. Members of Williams’ coaching staff were also let go.
Black has a reputation for being able to communicate well with players, and he will be tasked with bringing the Nationals together after a disappointing 83-79 season.
Chelsea Janes, of The Washington Post, says that Black’s communication skills, experience and attitude make it likely that he’ll “fit in sooner than later.”
Black’s Padres only had two winning seasons, and no playoff runs, with the Padres, but Janes tells WTOP that other factors were at work.
“Short of this year, when the Padres reloaded, Black was dealing with basically one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, one of the smallest talent pools in baseball, every year, and really built them into a team that wasn’t going to be beat down,” she says.
She claims that his teams, which finished third in each of his last two full seasons, outperformed expectations.
“They fight, no matter what kind of talent level they have.”
Janes thinks Black “brings all the things they were looking for in terms of experience and communication — some of the things that maybe they saw lacking over the last year.”
Black is likely to interact more closely with the players, Janes says, and as a former pitcher, he’ll have a different approach to the bullpen. As for the hitters, that’s not Black’s forte, Janes says, but Black’s been around long enough.
“He’s got a lot of friends in the game, a lot of connections, and I’m sure he’ll bring in a really proven guy to work with those guys,” she says.
Fans will also notice “a little bit more personality” in pre- and postgame news conferences, Janes says — Black will be “maybe a little bit looser … That’s part of why people think he’s such a good manager — just the vibe he brings, and the positivity and the confidence.”
After speaking with some of Black’s former players, Janes says they told her, that “he’s just a communicator.
“He’s really good with veterans about saying ‘Hey, if you can’t go today, we need you the full season. Take a rest today; we’ll get you back in there.’ Just kind of feeling them out and understanding where they are health-wise.”
That’s important after an injury-riddled season such as the Nats just had, she adds.