The former Giants, Cubs and Reds manager has been there and done that since 1993, and was formally introduced with a press conference on Thursday after the announcement was made on Tuesday.
Frustration boiled over in Washington's dugout near the end of last season when they found themselves well out of a playoff spot, even though they were predicted to contend in October. This even led to an in-dugout scuffle between outfielder Bryce Harper and trade deadline acquisition Jonathan Papelbon.
Baker expects to have a totally different attitude from his team next season, especially after they make expected off-season moves this winter. The 66-year-old last managed in 2013 with the Cincinnati Reds, and has a comfortable 3,176 games under his belt. Of the 16 that rank ahead of him in that category, 10 are dead, five are retired, and the only other one left standing is Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.
The new Nats' manager ranks second in wins with 1,671 victories, just 31 behind good friend Bochy. His other accolades include a three-time Manager of the Year, and three division titles, one in each of his three stints in his 20+ year career. He is just one of six managers in MLB history to accomplish that feat with three separate teams.
As mentioned earlier, it seemed as if a deal with Black was all but done for Washington, but it was a conflict in the contract talks that caused the change. The team had offered him a one-year, $1.6 million deal, which was denied due to the short-term variety of the offer. Only four managers are paid more in baseball, but Black was looking for longevity.
The Nats would only extend the offer to a two-year deal with team options, which still failed to satisfy the former NL Manger of the Year. The two sides had time to discuss the terms of the contract due to Washington wanting to wait until after the World Series to complete the deal, which gave Washington time to move on.
Baker and Black were two of eight potential candidates that were interviewed, and were known to be the two finalists in the race. The edge went to Baker, who has participated in just one World Series, but has good history in his first year with a new team. All three of Baker's teams have at least 18 more wins than the previous season in his first year in charge, and he looks to have that affect on the Nationals in the NL East.