Just when you thought it was safe to finally donate those "Lerners r teh cheep" (or was it "cheap") t-shirts to Goodwill or peel that "Lerners r teh cheap" (or was it "cheep") bumper sticker off your Volvo, the Washington Nationals' search for a new manager took a turn towards the embarrassing last night with revelations that negotiations with the rumored top choice, Bud Black, fell apart over the weekend and ultimately failed to result in a deal.
According to a reports by USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale and the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore and Barry Svrluga, the negotiations hit a snag after Black was "deeply offended" by what was reportedly an initial 1-year/$1.6M offer:
Can confirm what @BNightengale said: The Nats' first offer to Bud Black was for one year guaranteed, at $1.6 million.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) November 3, 2015
From me and @barrysvrluga, via sources: Nats chose Black on Wednesday, first offer left him "deeply offended," talks crumbled by Saturday.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) November 3, 2015
When talks with Black failed to result in a deal, the Nationals reportedly returned to negotiating with veteran manager Dusty Baker, who was one of the finalists for the job that was created by the Nationals' decision to part ways with Matt Williams two years after they hired the former major league slugger as skipper.
Baker, who's been out of the game since he was relieved of his duties as the Cincinnati Reds' skipper in 2013, was apparently willing to accept a two-year deal:
Dusty Baker is officially hired as #Nats manager receiving two year contract— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 3, 2015
The baseball world has been having a field day with the Nationals for the last 12-18 hours since their search for a new skipper took this dramatic turn. So what have they been saying? Brace yourselves:
NATS BEAT: Nationals hire Dusty Baker as new manager after rumors Bud Black was top choice + I never heard the phrase "dumpster fire" before, is that new?
• "Baker, a six-time All-Star (twice as a player: 1981 & 1982; three times as a member of the coaching staff: 1994, 1997 & 2001; once as manager: 2003), brings a wealth of experience to the manager’s seat in Washington." - "Nationals name Dusty Baker manager" - Curly W Live
Dusty baker back in the managers seat where he belongs, @Nationals got the right guy.— Sam LeCure (@mrLeCure) November 3, 2015
• "These are some words overheard and texted Monday night from people in the game regarding the Nationals: 'Laughingstock.' 'They don’t know what they’re doing.' 'Dumpster fire.' 'All about money.'" - "After Bud Black negotiations leave the Nationals shifting to Dusty Baker, the Lerner family has a fiasco on its hands" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
One thing about Dusty: In Cincy, he hit a lot of low-OBP guys like Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs and Willy Taveras 1st/2nd. Will he adjust?— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) November 3, 2015
• "Dusty Baker agreed to a multiyear deal to become the Nationals' new manager on Tuesday." - "Dusty Baker hired as Nationals new manager" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com
• "According to another person familiar with the situation, Black was 'deeply offended' by the Nationals’ first offer and the talks didn’t get back on track after that." - "Bud Black, Nationals have contract issues, team reportedly reconsidering Dusty Baker" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Whether the Nationals made a better offer to Baker than Black isn't clear yet, but the organization has never previously given its manager more than two guaranteed years since the Lerner family took over as owners in 2006." - "Nationals hire Dusty Baker as new manager" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Mid-Atlantic
Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) November 3, 2015
• "Baker has drawn criticism for overusing starting pitchers and over-reliance on outdated tactics, such as frequent sacrifice bunts. But wherever he has been, he has won..." - "Nationals hire Dusty Baker as manager" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Heyman thinks Baker was actually top choice? Say what?
• "'I think it went back and forth a few times. I think Dusty was actually the favorite choice of a few people, and I think they talked to him first,' Heyman said." - "Heyman: Baker Might Have Been Top Choice, After All" - CBS DC
Dusty Baker didn't break Prior or Wood. Nice narrative, though.— Harry Pavlidis (@harrypav) November 3, 2015
• "Bob Nightengale reports that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo offered the job and Black accepted it without the two first securing an agreement on the terms of the contract, most importantly the money." - "Dusty Baker Named Washington Nationals Manager After They Cheap Out On Bud Black" - Kevin Draper, Deadspin
Dusty Baker's phone has been ringing off the hook with coaches wanting to join his staff with #Nats, so could be star-studded group— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 3, 2015
• "Dusty Baker, who last managed in MLB for the Reds in 2013, will manage the Washington Nationals next season." - "Dusty Baker hired to manage Nationals" - David Clark, Cincinnati.com
• "The job was offered to Black on Wednesday by Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, which he accepted, and negotiations began on Thursday. They never came close to reaching a deal." - "Nationals, Dusty Baker in talks after Bud Black deal hits snag" - Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports
• "Word is that the Nats tried a real lowball offer on Black initially, first floating a one-year deal, then perhaps a one-year deal with options." - "Nats close to hiring Dusty Baker after talks with Bud Black break off" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com
• "The managerial round-up is just about over, and former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been unable to get back in the game." - "Gardenhire's managerial search didn't turn out well" - La Velle E. Neal III, StarTribune.com
And then there are (not "there's or there is" people) these ill-timed articles about Ted Lerner:
• "Ted Lerner owns the Washington Nationals and more land in the region than anyone. If you live, work or play in the greater Washington area, chances are you are in a Lerner building." - "Ted Lerner on Tysons, the Nationals and His Legacy" - Ethan Rothstein, Bisnow DC
• "'Heavy hitter' is certainly a phrase that applies to Ted Lerner." - "Ted Lerner of Lerner Enterprises and the Washington Nationals talks legacy and lessons" - Jennifer Nycz-Conner, Washington Business Journal