With the managerial search now underway for the Washington Nationals, one of the names that is popping up as one of the leading candidates for the job is former Padres’ manager Bud Black. Earlier today, Black was on MLB Network Radio and talked about his thoughts on the vacant manager position in the Nation’s Capital:
Black, who was the Manager of the Year in 2010 in San Diego, had a 649-713 record (.477 winning percentage) in his nine years with the Padres. He was fired during the first half last season after San Diego started the season 32-33. On Monday night, CBS Sports and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman said in his column that Black has a different personality than former Nats’ manager Matt Williams:
“This is a team that has World Series aspirations, and it’s a team that deserves someone who has been in the trenches before, someone who is a proven commodity. And Black is one of the few who could fill that bill. Black, the Padres’ manager for nine years before he was fired at 32-33 this year — that turned out to be overachieving, as we learned later; the Padres finished 14 games under .500 — is the right blend of experience and personality that would make a perfect choice.” (h/t Jon Heyman, CBS Sports)
Yes, Black has not won many games with San Diego and he has never made the playoffs. During his tenure, he did make it to one NL West tiebreaker game in 2007, but San Diego lost that game to the Rockies. Nevertheless, Black does fit in with the Nats because of his ability to work with starting pitchers.
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While the Nationals do have Bryce Harper, they have been one of their organizations that revolves around pitching. At the Major League level, they have Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and the young Joe Ross. Then, if you look at the minor league level, five of their top ten prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, are pitchers.
The Padres did make moves this past offseason to add players such as Matt Kemp and Wil Myers for their outfield, but San Diego has not been able to develop their young pitching, despite having a pitcher-friendly ballpark. This past season, San Diego’s starters had an ERA of 4.13, which was eighth in the National League (Nats were sixth at 3.70).
If Black were to become the Nats’ manager, he would have a chance to run a team with more talent than he had in any of his eight seasons on the West Coast. He fits the criteria that Mike Rizzo and the organization are looking for in terms of a manager with experience and a different personality than Williams. Black may not have the postseason experience that Nats fans would want, but it would be interesting to see what he can do with more of a veteran-laden squad.