Nationals Baseball: It's Baker?

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

It's Baker?

It's not Black it's Dusty Baker.

There are two immediate take-aways from this news. One is that the Nats organization is pretty much a joke right? They lowballed Black. He refused and they went with option #2.  Whatever crazy reason you can come up with for the lowballing - cheapness, Rizzo wanting out, MLB hiring asking for a favor - it does not look good.

Second is that - Dusty is a fine choice. Not a great one, but certainly no worse than Black if we're trying to be objective. Dusty has won more, has actually been to the playoffs and the whole Prior/Wood thing is both overblown and over a decade in the past. He does have his issues (teams should take a walk now and then, playoff managing hasn't exactly been stellar) but I'd expect that he should be able to make the Nats successful.

We're now in the info gathering stage so look for more takes to come.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Harper, in that I'm not enthusiastic about Baker but think the pitching thing is overblown. I'd like to hear his comments on walks - if he starts in on Bryce for taking walks (as opposed to chasing crap off the plate) I shall be quite vexed. But overall his former players both like and respect him, and that's an improvement.

I'm not willing to call the organization out for being a clown show, because a lot of the people who are reporting that the Nats low-balled Bud Black are the same people who assured us last week that it was a "done deal." They now have a direct incentive to cover their own asses ("it wasn't my source/reporting, it was the Nationals' fault!"). If Black thinks he deserves from the Nationals what Mattingly got from the Marlins, well, I wouldn't have given him that either.

John C. said...

It's also interesting to note that the Nats were criticized in several articles and posts in the media over the weekend for not reaching out to Baker to let him know he wasn't selected. When in hindsight the reason that they did so was because no final selection had been made and the process was still ongoing.

John C. said...

OK, the 6:48 AM comment is also from me - not sure why my name didn't post with it.

Chaz R said...

What do you think this says about their intentions on 2016 salary? I think it could cut either way- saving on the manager to spend on players; or just cheap all the way around.

HammerAce said...

I'd call the organization a clown show at this point. Boswell wouldn't have written his Bud Black propaganda piece last week without inside knowledge from the Front Office or Lerners that the deal was in place. The situation blew up over the weekend, and now they are in damage control mode.

John C. said...

I don't think it says anything about their plans for 2016 salary, frankly. The alarmism and constant drumbeat of variations of "the Lerners are cheap" and expectation that the Nationals are suddenly going to turn into some version of the Orioles - or worse yet, a small market team - have always been overblown to me. The Nationals have laid out an ever increasing payroll to the point where they are one of the highest spending teams in MLB outside of the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox. The team has said nothing at all about retrenching.

Harper said...

John C - well it's rare these things break down in negotiations so I forgive the press for thinking it was a done deal. I don't think he was looking for Mattingly deal. But I think he wanted more than 2 years and the Nats didn't go there (and my guess is they wont). I think what was most likely is that the Nats wanted Black but knew they didn't have it in the bag (so no calling Dusty) but someone, not Rizzo, leaked it, messing this all up.

Chaz R - I'm not sure it says anything. THey could simply have a "manager budget" and want to stick to that.

HammerAce - Nah, Boz likes to spin positive on Nats when he can. He would write that as soon as he thought it was going to be a done deal (which is 49 times out of 50 when they agree on hiring)

ProphetNAT said...

Players play. Coaches (baseball coaches in particular) write a lineup card, tape it to wall, and make bullpen moves (if they're wise, with input from their staff). Last year our players didn't play and our manager couldn't make the right moves, but make no mistake - our guys not being on the field was the reason we failed. Not 12 blown calls the bullpen. Now we have a good manager, albeit not Rizzo's first choice, but still a good manager.

All this doom and gloom, window closing/slamming shut, Rizzo's gone after this year, we're undermined Dusty right out of the gate...simmer down people. This starting to sound like a Redskins message board :(

Clip&Store said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clip&Store said...

Dammit, if it wasn't buddy black I at least wanted Leyland or "uncle chollie" Manuel. I like them a lot more. Plus baker is a choker

Harper said...

ProphetNAT - the thing is in 2012 the Nats had a lot of optimism that they could have a run of 4 yrs based on age, talent, contracts. That time frame ends in 2016. That doesn't mean 2017 will be a 100 loss season, but neither does the success of that time frame mean 2017 will be fine. While 2016 should be a competitive season, 2017 looks to be a question mark, the first real question mark since the Nats came onto the scene in 2012. That's what people are reacting to. You can say it's too early to worry about it, and you'd probably be right, but forgive a fan base that has had reasonable security of a talented team for 4 years for looking warily at an uncertain future.

C&S - I wanted Manuel too. Leyland has gone on record saying he's done so was never going to be him.

David said...

Lol @ Dusty Baker being a fine choice. The guy is a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Must be nice to turn your nose up at 1.6 million dollars.

blovy8 said...

Given Rizzo's emphasis on secrecy, he'll be pissed about the leak, but I don't know that Baker's hiring, even if it was forced on him, would push him out the door if all the deals Boras made over his head didn't. Ultimately, every GM needs to please his ownership. He has to accept this, and in a way, it gives him more cover if it doesn't work and Black was gonna be his choice. Eventually, Baker will be gone too, it's inevitable. I'm still more concerned that Baker is healthy enough for the stress of the job at this point, then you're looking at a temp or the bench coach managing. He's won before at least, and with a good pitching coach, and a better bullpen, maybe his choices will be harder to screw up.

SM said...

So if--as one of the reasons you threw out to mull over--Baker might have been hired as a favour to Major League Baseball and its diversity hiring policy, an obvious question is this:

What favour will the Nationals get in return from MLB?

Harper said...

David - A buffoon who's teams seem to win more with him than without him

anon @ 8:10 - it is. but if you are pretty sure you can get more elsewhere the math is simple. Plus he's made easily over 20 million as a player and manager. Hopefully he doesn't need this money

blovy8 - I wondered about that too but talks did progress so if Rizzo was pissed he got passed it.

SM - I don't know. Which is why I don't think it's that. I think if baseball did contact the Nats it was pre-hiring with no hiring demands.

DezoPenguin said...

This is a disaster. A man who treats advanced statistics with the apparent contempt of a high-school baseball player failing math is being hired to manage a big-market team in the post-Moneyball area. A man whose lineup decisions in Cincy bordered on the baffling. The only positives to be taken out of this are that his "I destroy pitchers!" reputation is overblown because of bad decisions made in the early part of his career and at the least he's not going to cause the kind of clubhouse meltdowns that lead to players choking each other. But even if the manager's tactical decisions have an influence on even five games a year, the Nationals have just ceded all of those games to the opposition. This is Kevin Towers-grade "old school uber alles" philosophy in team management, and if this is what Rizzo or worse yet the Lerners has/have decided to go with in terms of team-building I dread hearing what the remainder of the off-season roster moves are going to be.

The only potential positive for this upcoming season is the incontrovertible fact that if Scherzer, Stras, Ross, Harper, Zim, Werth, Taylor, Rendon, Turner, etc. all hit the upside on their performance/injury risk questions the team will still win games, because hell, Ned Yost just won a World Series. But I'm not holding my breath.

Zimmerman11 said...

so did baker take the lowball offer then???

Harper said...

Dezo - Eh. I mean even if he's as bad as you say and he's worth 5 games. I don't think that would be enough to derail the team in itself. Matt Williams had the worst instinct and lost the clubhouse and won 96 games. Plus if he's really that terrible why did his teams do better with him? Could be he's losing 3 games to strategy but getting 4 in the immeasurables like motivation. All we can go on, since we can't measure everything, is the records on hand and those are pretty good, so unless you attribute none of that to him you have to concede at the very least it's a passable hire.

Z11 - He probably took a 2 year deal with team options. Let's say in the 3 mill range. That seems to be the max of what was offered to Black. He wanted more than 2 guaranteed.

NatsFan1 said...

How is the Nat's organization a joke? How is this a disaster? Have you even seen Star Wars?

Bud Black did not have an impressive resume. A career losing record as manager with no division titles or playoff appearances. The common excuse is that he never was given the payroll or the proper pieces. First, plenty of small market teams with low payroll and in tough divisions make the playoffs consistently. Second, he was given the pieces last year and still couldn't win.

Nonetheless, he is somehow viewed as the darling managerial candidate for the Nationals because he is "a good communicator?" So was Manny Acta.

So the Nationals decide he is their guy. They choose him over other candidates who have much more impressive resumes (Baker, Gardenhire). They offer him:
-Free reign on who the coaching staff will be
-A team that has won 2 division titles in 4 years
-A higher team payroll
-Bryce Harper
-The richest owners in baseball
-A better GM
-A newer ballpark with a better fanbase

But the manager who just got fired says "nah, not as good as the deals other managers with much better track records than me are getting...i'll pass." And the Lerner's are the jerks here?

Not buying it.

Froggy said...

I think it was less about the money and more about the years. Two years was a stupid offer for anyone who could see the wheels wobbling with age of players and contracts coming up. Black probably had some idea of a timeline in mind and didn't want the axe of Damocles over his head for two years.

Where the Nat's F'd up was in not taking time after Black said no to take another look at some other candidates, especially now that the WS is over.

NatsFan1 said...

Why is this such a shock to everyone?

2-3 year deals have been pretty much standard practice for the Lerner's. Manny Acta, Jim Riggleman, Davey Johnson, Matt Williams, Dusty Baker. None of these guys managed / were given more than a 3 year deal.

Did Bud really think he was going to get a 4 year deal?

JW said...

I don't think the whole Baker vs/ Black issue is really what is upsetting here. It's the impression that the process gives for the Nats organization as a whole (i.e., word getting out and then a quick 180). It's just not the type of PR you would hope for from such an organization. Not confidence inspiring stuff.

I don't know that Baker or Black could be thought of as "home run hires." Both represent an upgrade on MW (admittedly a super-low bar). But neither are the type of manager to put a team over the hump. The only problem is that there are so few of those.

Either hire says to me that the Nats are at this point where they want to be "competitive" but aren't necessarily trying to win it all. Put out a decent team, compete for the division, maybe get lucky in the postseason. But either way, we will know for sure once we see what they do with the roster.

Anonymous said...

I don't care who manages the team as long as they sign Alex Gordon and move Harper to CF.

Anonymous said...

So Heyman said that "There were some in the Nats organization who wanted Baker all along." A bit of a conspiracy theory here, but could it be possible that Baker was Rizzo's choice all along? But the Lerners thought they could get Black for cheaper/less years and forced negotiations with him? Regardless of how small Baker's contract is, I'd imagine the Lerners expected to be able to pay a manager from a minor market with a losing record even less.

Jay said...

I agree with the last post. Harper is my every day CF unless Dusty can work some magic with Taylor.

I still think Bud Black was possibly being overrated. Let's see he developed good pitching and a bullpen in what is without a doubt the best pitcher's park in baseball. What if he goes some where else and does the same exact thing - goes .500. MW won manager of the year and was fired the next. I agree with Harper that Baker has won every where he has ever been. If not for the rally monkey years ago he would have won a WS. Plus the recent WS should prove that talent and players win. Ned Yost was a laughing stock and fired from the Brewers with 2 weeks left in the season. Now he has been in the last two WS and won one convincingly. Terry Collins - another laughing stock around the league until this year - was managing (albeit badly) in the WS this year. Rizzo needs to build a better bull pen and find some guys that can stay healthy. The Nats are going to be fine. The Mets will be the team to beat, but that is probably best with the Nats.