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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Articles tagged: Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker feels ‘wanted’ by Astros owner ahead of manager interview

Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker is a hot name for various unexpected manager openings around MLB, but the one he seems most likely for is the Houston Astros job.

Baker arrived in Houston on Sunday and spoke with reporters ahead of his interview with the Astros. Baker spoke highly of the Astros, calling them a “good team” and saying it would be an “honor” to manage them.

In addition to the Astros, the Red Sox and Mets have manager vacancies after parting ways with their respective skippers over their involvement in the Astros cheating scandal. Baker says he has not heard from the Red Sox or Mets.

Baker is 70 and viewed as an old-school manager, so leading the Astros — a forward-thinking and analytics-oriented organization — seems like it would be an odd fit on the surface. But Baker went 192-132 in his last stop with the Washington Nationals and is 1863-1636 overall as an MLB manager. In other words, he’s a proven winner, and that may be what Houston wants.

Report: Dusty Baker to interview for Astros manager job

Dusty Baker

The Houston Astros appear to be stepping up their efforts to hire a new manager.

According to Jon Morosi and Matt Kelly of MLB.com, the Astros are slated to interview Dusty Baker for their open managerial job on Monday. He joins ex-managers Buck Showalter and John Gibbons as well as Chicago Cubs third base coach Will Venable in interviewing for the position. The team’s bench coach, Joe Espada, is also a candidate.

The Astros’ search is progressing quickly, with full squad workouts roughly a month away. Owner Jim Crane has said the plan is to have a new manager in place by Feb. 3.

There would be some amusement in the Astros, who have long claimed to be one of the league’s most cutting edge organizations, interviewing a staunchly old-school manager in Baker. He would bring a track record of success, having gone 192-132 in his last stop with the Washington Nationals and 1863-1636 overall as an MLB manager. The New York Mets also reportedly have Baker on their shortlist, though there is no indication the two sides have spoken yet.

Dusty Baker, Luis Rojas, Eduardo Perez in consideration for Mets manager job

Dusty Baker

The New York Mets are seeking a new manager after firing Carlos Beltran on Thursday, and they may look to both new and old candidates for the job.

According to the New York Post’s Mike Puma, the Mets are considering veteran manager Dusty Baker for the job. Baker was not among the candidates the Mets seriously considered before hiring Beltran after last season, but he has a proven record of success and would be available as a candidate.

Puma further reports that some within the Mets’ organization like internal candidate Luis Rojas, who is the team’s quality control coach. ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez, who was considered for the job previously, may also be in the mix.

Perez, Rojas, Derek Shelton, Tim Bogar, Joe Girardi, Pat Murphy and Tony DeFrancesco were among a large group of candidates to interview for the position over the fall. Girardi is now the manager of the Phillies and would be out of the mix.

Complicating issues for the Mets, they will now be competing with the Red Sox and Astros in making a hire, as all three fired their respective managers over the Astros cheating scandal.

Dusty Baker a leading candidate for Phillies manager job?

Dusty Baker

The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be intent on hiring a manager with experience after they decided to move on from Gabe Kapler last week, and Dusty Baker could be one of the favorites to land the job.

Baker is scheduled to interview with the Phillies on Wednesday, and Jon Heyman of Fancred says he still has Bryce Harper’s endorsement from when they were both with the Washington Nationals. That could give him an edge over other big-name candidates like Joe Girardi and Buck Showalter.

Baker managed the Nationals in 2016 and 2017, and many thought his dismissal was unwarranted. He had a regular-season record of 192-132 during his two seasons, though Washington came up short in the playoffs, losing in five games in the NLDS both seasons. Baker also had to deal with a sticky situation involving Stephen Strasburg, and the team may not have been pleased with the way he handled it.

Despite the postseason shortcomings in Washington, Baker is a respected manager who is known for getting the most out of his rosters. The Phillies are loaded with talent, and the 70-year-old might make sense for a team with that makeup.

Dusty Baker wishes he were still managing Nationals

Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker was, in the minds of many, let go prematurely by the Washington Nationals after the 2017 season, with a number of fans believing that he should have been given a longer tenure in charge.

Baker agrees — and sometimes he wishes he was still with the franchise.

Baker roots for the players, but he made it quite clear after his dismissal that he had some issues with the front office’s handling of things. He posted a .593 winning percentage with the Nationals before leaving, while his successor, Dave Martinez, is at .485 and has yet to make the playoffs. Baker may yet get the last laugh.

Dusty Baker reflects on frustrations with Nationals’ front office

Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker still has some gripes with the Washington Nationals, and it’s safe to say those issues may have carried over to the new manager.

Baker hinted at meddling from ownership and the front office during his tenure as Nationals manager in a revealing interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, saying that his higher-ups often wanted to meddle with his roster.

“There were a lot of things in the two years I was there,” Baker said. “We’d have these meetings upstairs. You’d be surprised how ownership wanted to release this guy or send this guy to the minors. I was like, ‘No, man. No! You’re going to tear up my team!'”

Baker added that Jayson Werth, who he viewed as a valuable clubhouse leader, was one of the players ownership pushed to get rid of — and miss now.

“He’s one of the guys they wanted to get rid of,” Baker said. “I told him that. I said, ‘Come here, man, I’m going to tell you something I ain’t supposed to tell you. You better pick your s— up. Because they’re going to get rid of you.’ And he did.

“He said, ‘What, with all the money I’m making?’ I said, ‘They don’t give a s—, they have to pay you anyway.’ Players think that’s a safety jacket, a bullet-proof vest? ‘Here, man. Go home.'”

Some of the front office decisions lately have raised eyebrows for the Nationals. They reportedly traded Brandon Kintzler because they felt he was giving negative comments about the clubhouse to the press, and Shawn Kelley was released for very odd reasons. This may be some of the meddling Baker is alluding to, and it may be an explanation for some of Washington’s current frustrations.

Dusty Baker calls Nationals dismissal ‘hard to understand’

Dusty Baker

Count Dusty Baker as one of the people quite surprised by his departure as manager of the Washington Nationals.

Baker said he was “surprised and disappointed” to learn that the Nationals would not renew his contract despite two NL East titles in his two seasons as manager — but no playoff series wins.

“I’m surprised and disappointed,” Baker told USA Today on Friday. “They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me.

“I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It’s hard to understand.”

Baker said he has no plans to retire and aims to continue managing somewhere else if given the opportunity.

There is a chance that Washington’s opinion on Baker shifted in the NLDS, when he led the organization’s stumbling explanations regarding Stephen Strasburg’s health for Game 4. Either way, something clearly soured ownership on him.