Just because the MLB season has officially ended, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fun is over. After a disappointing season finish that had the uber hyped Washington Nationals missing the playoffs, the team cleaned house by firing Matt Williams. This was a move that led to a lot of cheer from fans, and it was soon expected that the team would hire someone competent in his place. The key here is that there was a presumption that he was incompetent in the first place after amassing a win percentage of only .552 in 2 years as the manager. What happened next shed some new light into why the Nationals struggles go far beyond their manager, and why they need a massive overhaul.
Former pitchers aren’t the first pick when it comes to managers, but Bud Black is the exception to the rule, and even has a 2010 league Manager of the Year award under his belt. He has accomplished a lot in all levels of baseball over the years, and exudes the leadership that the young Nationals team so desperately needed. He was basically hired, and the only thing left was for both sides to agree on terms. At that point the Nationals organization walked into the room and offered Bud Black the equivalent of a bag of chips and a soda without a receipt. Offering only 1.6 million for a single year contract, the money was adequate enough but the refusal to go higher than a year was the turning point. Taking control of an entire MLB team that has underperformed for years and turning them into a World Series contender isn’t a one year job, and their refusal to renegotiate shows a level of hubris that not even the Yankees front office could get away with.
This could have all been avoided if they didn’t jump the gun by telling Black that he had the job without discussing terms-especially if they intended to low ball him that much. They did however land their second choice, Dusty Baker. To keep it brief, Dusty Baker is coming off of a .222 win percentage in the playoffs with the Cincinnati Reds. If the Washington Nationals are serious about becoming contenders, this was not only a bad hire but one that puts them exactly where they were last year. The only thing left at this point is to wait for their best players to leave for the Yankees.
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