The Washington Nationals are expected to hire Bud Black as their new manager, according to a report from the Washington Post. The organization also reportedly interviewed Dusty Baker for the vacant position, but the team is expected to formally announce Black's hiring after the World Series. Black managed the San Diego Padres for a nine-year stretch, culminating in his firing this past season after getting off to a 32-33 record. Black will bring a .477 managerial winning percentage to the position.
Former manager Matt Williams, fired by the team on October 4, was subject to heavy criticism last season as his team finished with a 37-44 record from July through September. Mismanagement of in-game situations and communication failures with the clubhouse—"When exactly do you think you lost this team?," outfielder Jayson Werth asked Williams at one point—were addressed in a damning report from Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga. The 2014 NL Manager of the Year will depart the job with a 179-145 cumulative record.
Whereas Williams possessed no managerial experience entering the job, Black's 1,362 major league games managed will be a breath of fresh air for a team looking to shed its dysfunctional reputation. Given a short leash in 2015, Black was dismissed after a tepid start from a new-look Padres team that included offseason acquisitions Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel, Wil Myers, and others. With a handful of Washington regulars, most notably Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, expected to leave via free agency this offseason, Black will receive another crack at winning with a renovated roster.