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UPDATE: Dusty Baker -- not Bud Black -- now “very likely” to be Nationals manager

Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce


UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today has more details on how talks broke down with Black. He was offered the job last Wednesday and accepted, but contract negotiations didn’t start until Thursday. The word is that the Nationals offered him a two-year deal for less than $2 million. Black is an established manager, so he understandably balked at the low-ball offer.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote a little while ago that “there’s a strain of thought” that the Nationals’ owners, the Lerner family, “don’t have a grasp on standard pay for managers.” That looks like an understatement right now.

10:40 p.m. ET: Heyman has updated his story and writes that the Nationals will offer Baker the job and that he’s now “very likely” to be the Nationals’ next manager. Meanwhile, Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears that negotiations with Black are “over.”

For what it’s worth, Heyman hears that nothing was ever settled with Black despite the reports last week. The Nationals were said to be leaning toward Baker over the weekend. Could this just be some spin now that talks with Black have fizzled? Who knows, but surely this situation smells fishy for sure.

10:30 p.m. ET: Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms that the Nationals have reached out to Baker after they were “unable to finalize a contract” with Black.

10:07 p.m. ET: Some truly surprising news from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who hears that the Nationals may hire Dusty Baker over Bud Black as their next manager.

It was reported last Wednesday that the Nationals were set to hire Black for the job. An official announcement was expected to come after the World Series. It still sounded like a formality just a couple of hours ago as James Wagner of the Washington Post reported that the two sides were “still ironing out contract terms with him.” Apparently those negotiations haven’t gone well and the Nationals have kept in touch with Baker, who was the other finalist for the job. What a mess.

The Nationals have made experience a top priority after firing first-time manager Matt Williams. The 66-year-old Baker obviously has plenty of it. He owns an 1671-1504 (.526) record over 20 seasons between stops with the Giants, Cubs, and Reds. He was let go by the Reds after the 2013 season.

Hopefully it won’t be long until we have more clarity about this increasingly confusing situation. Stay tuned.

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