Nationals Baseball: It's Blackest before the Dawn

Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's Blackest before the Dawn

It's Bud Black! 

Sorry, I mistyped that.

It's Bud Black.

There that's better.

I've said things about Bud Black before. Here. And here's a better one. The gist? He's a fine hire. He's had 8 years of experience so he's not learning anything on the job. Based on all we know he won't make any more silly mistakes than your average manager and he won't have the team turn on him.

Anything more than that is us filling in the gaps. He's had no success, but was that bad talent (and it was bad) or lack of motivation? He's had good pens, but was that a kenn eye from the former pitcher and pitching coach or a function of Petco and some luck? Believe the most positive interpretation, because why not? But accept that the most negative interpretation is also perfectly valid.

So all we need now is Rizzo to bark at Black "Just do your job" and Werth to undermine him in the press and he'll be completely at home.


mjteggy05 said...

These days, outside of guys like Bochy/Maddon, there's not really such a thing as an "inspiring" hire, and even Bochy didn't really have any success before SF.

It seems like most managers (exceptions to every rule) aren't generally "great" at their first gig. The basic hope is that Black is a guy that learned "how to manage" (and by that, I basically mean communicate with players, and make pitching changes) his first go-around.

Bottom line: talent and luck wins, and generally the most a manager can do is mess things up.

Anonymous said...

What really matters is signing Bryce to a long term extension. Your comment yesterday that Bryce likely only has 3 more years in DC was depressing.

DezoPenguin said...

Ultimately, I am happy that they picked Black instead of Baker because Black has not come off as being openly hostile to advanced statistics in the way that Baker has. I don't know if Black will prove to be another Joe Maddon or Clint Hurdle, but we can at least hope. The possibility exists that he will do his job well in terms of player management and in terms of tactical decisions.

Now, whether reducing the candidates to Black and Baker was itself the right move, I have less confidence about. But after the Williams fiasco (where in 2014 they were good in spite of him and in 2015 they crashed and burned with him), I can see why they'd be gun-shy about taking a chance on someone like Dave Martinez or Tim Wallach and giving them their first job.

Froggy said...

I was right...the Lerner's favorite flavor is vanilla.

Good news is, you can add a couple key ingredients to vanilla and make it something spectacular.

Anonymous said...

Actually, according to Wagner's piece in the Post, the Lerner family really liked Baker, which is why he got a second interview.

Sammy Kent said...

When it got down to those two I knew they'd hire the Black guy. ;-)

Seriously, I was for Bud all along, but I would have been OK with Dusty if they had decided on him. Both were good candidates IMHO. Now let's see if Rizzo can make the right moves over the winter to get all the pieces in place to raise this team's ceiling above division title.

Froggy said...

@Annon, the Lerner's have the ultimate say in these matters. I would like to think this was a unified decision and they went with Rizzo's final recommendation. That's what my sources say anything.

Froggy said...


Fries said...

Based on one data point, so it's perfectly valid statistically to extrapolate, Bud Black is going to be the next Bochy

Zimmerman11 said...

Anonymous said...
What really matters is signing Bryce to a long term extension. Your comment yesterday that Bryce likely only has 3 more years in DC was depressing.

Anonymous at 7:38 - What's REALLY depressing is that Boras is going to string DC along and keep hopes alive in the eventual negotiations only to squeeze every last dollar he can out of the team Bryce is eventually going to play for... The New York Yankees.

SM said...

Fished out a Wall Street Journal article printed on the eve of the 2013 World Series.

Note especially the chart.

Why Can't Pitchers Be Managers? - Wall Street Journal

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

SM - got a date or byline for that WSJ piece? Your link is tied to your subscriber number (as most WSJ links are) so it doesn't work for the rest of us.

My take - I'm with Boz on this one. Spent some time the other day looking at Joe Torre's managerial record on Baseball Reference and before he gets to the Yankees, it's not particularly distinguished.

For what it's worth, the people I know inside the game (though not inside the Nats) all had Black at the top of their list - cited his openness, ability to communicate, ability to work with 25 different egos and sets of insecurities and packages of needs. Basically called him the opposite of MW.

So on nonstatistical grounds, I'm optimistic.

SM said...

Alan G. Ampolsk

Why Can't Pitchers Be Managers?
October 23, 2013
Jared Diamond

He's the WSJ's sports writer Jared Diamond, not the "Guns, Germs and Steel" polymath of the same name.

You may or may not season your optimism after perusing the managers-by-position chart.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

Thanks, SM. Interesting stats and, yes, gives you pause. Though I'm not sure how much can be concluded from it. Catchers did disproportionately well in the World Series, but not in overall winning percentage, where they were worse than pitchers by .005 And it's strange that first basement outperform everybody else in terms of winning percentage - you'd think that catchers would dominate overall given their view of the game. Then, of course, you'd have to adjust for era - how well has each position done in the increasingly extended postseason, which now amounts to a small but concentrated season in itself.

I can feel a new sabermetric abyss opening...

I continue to think that getting the right fit (personality, clubhouse, roster, organization) counts for a great deal - as witness someone like Torre who "clicks" when he finds the right situation (and doesn't have to worry about the best use of Dave Kingman).

You can even make the case for no managerial experience being a good qualification, as witness Mike Matheny.

What? Small sample size?

Too soon?

Robot said...

Black is fine enough. He seems competent enough to actively detract from games, which is really all we're looking for.

Clip&Store said...

This really is the most vanilla option. I personally was pulling for Leyland or "uncle chollie" manuel

Anonymous said...

Mr. Baker is not considered a good manager because of his dislike for advanced metrics? Please, I am not being snarky, I just do not understand the finer points of the game I am trying very hard to learn so be nice. The way I see it you can feed infinite numbers into a computer but as long as you are dealing with human beings, mother nature and all the uncontrollable forces that impact this game what really, is the value of metrics and saber metrics? Should that disqualify a good candidate?

Anonymous said...

Why would Mr. Harper, especially if he is named NL MVP, want to stay with the Nationals? I would imagine that he would have to hire people just to sort out the offers he will receive. Could he possibly buy out his contract. Will he even be a National in the next baseball season?