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Nationals interviewed Bud Black, Dusty Baker; Giants bench coach Ron Wotus still to come

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, left, will interview for the Nationals’ vacancy. (Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

The Nationals this week interviewed former Managers of the Year Dusty Baker and Bud Black, both of whom bring the kind of experience Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo hinted he will lean toward after first-time manager Matt Williams fizzled. They will also interview would-be rookie manager Ron Wotus, longtime Giants bench coach, Monday.

Baker has 20 years of managing experience with the Giants, Cubs and Reds, and led the Giants to the World Series in 2002. He is known for his ability to manage star players and keep personalities in check.

The Padres fired Black midway through this season after their revamped roster failed to perform, and as General Manager A.J. Preller that he would like to install his people as he overhauled the organization. Black had managed the Padres since 2007, when Bruce Bochy left for San Francisco. He managed them to a sub-.500 record during his tenure, though the team’s payroll hovered in the league’s bottom third throughout his time as manager.

Prior to managing the Padres, Black served as pitching coach under longtime Angels Manager Mike Scoscia. The Angels may be targeting Black to replace pitching coach Mike Butcher, who they fired this week. Black has called the Nationals job “very attractive,” and said they have a “great city, great team, and great front office” when reached for comment recently.

Wotus, a Connecticut native, has served on the Giants’ coaching staff since 1998, and worked under respected managers Baker, Felipe Alou and Bochy. Wotus is well-respected throughout baseball despite his lack of big league managing experience, and managed in the Giants’ minor league system from 1991-97.

The 54-year-old is  known as a strong communicator with a well-liked personality, and has been on the bench for three World Series championships. Rizzo said he would prefer a more experienced candidate as manager, but that Wotus has learned from three of the most respected managers in recent major league history makes him an intriguing candidate.

Rizzo said his search will be wide-ranging, and will include candidates of varied backgrounds and experiences. Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is likely to interview next week.