Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team will go into the search for its next manager with no preconceived notions. "We'll have candidates who have managerial experience and others who don't," Friedman said at the news conference to discuss the departure of manager Don Mattingly. "For us to cast as wide a net as we want to, we're going to go into it with an open mind."
Friedman's track record suggests he'll do exactly as he said. One of the first things he did after taking over as general manager of the Rays after the 2005 season was to hire Joe Maddon, a longtime Angels coach with whom Friedman had no previous connection. Maddon simply blew him away in the job interview.
Let's explore some of the presumed candidates who could take over for Mattingly.
Tuesday: Bud Black
Failed talks in Washington gave the Dodgers one more candidate to consider. Black, the manager of the San Diego Padres for eight-and-a-half seasons, reportedly had been picked by the Washington Nationals to succeed Matt Williams last week before the contract talks fell apart and the Nationals abruptly named former Dodgers outfielder Dusty Baker their next manager.
Black lives in Northern San Diego County and worked under Dodgers executive Josh Byrnes in San Diego from 2011 to 2014.
Black, 58, won the 2010 National League Manager of the Year award after the Padres won 90 games and finished just two games out of first place.
Black pitched for 15 seasons in the major leagues, most notably for the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Like two other candidates, Darin Erstad and Ron Roenicke, he is part of Mike Scioscia’s coaching tree, having served as the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach from 2000 to 2006. He coached 2005 Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon and won the 2002 World Series on Scioscia’s staff.
Scioscia’s first coaching staff became an incubator for innovative ideas and vibrant baseball debate, something Black talked about in an interview with ESPN.com several years ago. That staff produced future managers Joe Maddon, Roenicke and Black. Erstad, the head baseball coach at Nebraska, was the clubhouse leader on several of those teams.