August 16, 2022

Nats lose Bud Black over money, turn back to Dusty Baker

Let’s take out of the equation, just for the moment, the idea that Dusty Baker is going to pick at Bud Black’s scraps and probably become the next manager of the Washington Nationals.

According to multiple sources now, the Nats offered Bud Black their managerial job last week during the World Series without mentioning this rate of pay, then over the weekend when they went to do the contract, they offered Black, a veteran manager, a two-year deal for less than $2 million per.

Or did they?

Huh? What?

To compare, the Miami Marlins, with the lowest payroll in all of baseball, offered Don Mattingly a four-year, $10 million deal to become their new skipper.

According to The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, Black was, and rightfully so, “deeply offended.”

From me and @barrysvrluga, via sources: Nats chose Black on Wednesday, first offer left him “deeply offended,” talks crumbled by Saturday.

— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) November 3, 2015

It’s hard to imagine just how dysfunctional this all looks.

The news broke last week that Black had been offered and accepted the job. Then the team goes back and offers him less than they will have to pay Matt Williams to not manage this team next year (Nats are on the hook for the $1 million option of Williams they picked up in the spring for next season).

This is obviously coming from ownership. It’s understandable that they’d be reluctant to have to pay two salaries for one job. But it’s the price of doing business, especially when their GM’s hand-picked lieutenant proved to be an inadequate field manager and less-than-respected in the clubhouse.

Black was the logical choice for the next manager of the Nats. He’s experienced, respected by players and industry folks, a former big leaguer and pitching coach, and has ties to the area (his daughter went to Maryland). It seemed a fait accompli that he’d be guiding the Nats back to the playoffs next year.

Now, all that is up in the air.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Baker, who’s a three-time N.L. manager of the year, was told he didn’t get the job, now he’s looking like the front-runner again. How does any self-respecting person see what the Nats did to Black and decide they still want to be a part of it. And when Baker’s salary (or whoever becomes the next manager) becomes public, we’ll go through all the finger pointing yet again.

And Baker, by the way, is a dinosaur in this business. He’s as old school as they get. He’s the guy that said he didn’t want players drawing walks because all that does is “clog the bases.” He’s the guy that destroyed Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. But there are also studies that he’s very effective at getting the most out of his hitters, though a lot of that has to do with a bunch of guys named Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Sammy Sosa.

It’s an ugly and awkward situation that only gets messier when we’re talking about the amount of money the Nats paid Casey Janssen to buy out his option.

For several years, the Nats organization was the talk of the league. They were going about things “the right way,” building from within through the draft, shrewd trades and generally acting like adults. But the events of the season, the way the Drew Storen/Jonathan Papelbon and Papelbon/Bryce Harper things were handled, then the firing of Williams and now this, it leaves many more questions than answers.

Primary of which, is: Who’s running this show and what’s their motivation?

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


  1. […] comes to DC after a week of turmoil surrounding the club, as Bud Black, the one-time favorite to replace Matt Williams, was reportedly offered the job but with a low […]

  2. […] comes to DC after a week of turmoil surrounding the club, as Bud Black, the one-time favorite to replace Matt Williams, was reportedly offered a short-term and low-cost […]

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