Taking a quick break from figuring out who the Padres should hire for their next manager, it has been reported that former Padres manager Bud Black and bench coach Rick Renteria are in contention to be the next manager for the Washington Nationals, who dismissed Matt Williams after a disappointing 2015 that ended with their closer Jonathan Papelbon trying to choke their best player Bryce Harper. Could’ve been worse Padres fans?
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While we have seen there is no magic formula for a manager, the Nationals certainly seem to be a pretty attractive opening contrasted with Seattle and San Diego who also are looking for managers. The Nationals of course will still have a pitcher who just threw two no-hitters in one season in Max Scherzer, the probably National League MVP in Bryce Harper, not to mention guys like Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg in the rotation with hitters like Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Taylor. Also a pretty good shortstop who made the bigs this year in Trea Turner and Joe Ross somewhere between AAA and the rotation. Familiarity can’t be a bad thing.
Bud Blacks’s credentials are pretty well known among Paders fans, and he does generally have a very good reputation throughout the game for handling players and might bring a new dimension to the development of Bryce Harper that he hasn’t had to this point in his career. Black managed the Padres for 8+ seasons with a 649-713 record and never made the playoffs. It was also deemed that he “did his best with what he was given” so this year when the team was meddling around .500 he was given the boot. Of course, the team only did worse after he left.
Rick Renteria meanwhile is an interesting case. He was well regarded in the baseball community and was excited to manage the Cubs in 2014 with a promising young core of players like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. He had managed for years with the Padres and Marlins before becoming the Padres bench coach in 2011. He went 73-89 in his one year with the Cubs and was universally lauded for how he helped those players develop. However, when Joe Maddon became available, Theo Epstein and his team couldn’t help themselves in moving to get him. That meant departing with Renteria who took a year off from baseball but now appears as a popular candidate in several manager openings, the Padres themselves included.
When Black was asked the managerial opening, he responded in standard Bud Black fashion:
“Very attractive position, very good team, great city. That’s a good one.”
Take that for what you will, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these two managing somewhere next season.