Dusty Baker – Washington Nationals
Even though it was thought the Nationals were going to hire Bud Black after firing Matt Williams, the Nats decided to hire Dusty Baker on a two-year, $4 million deal. While Baker hasn’t been a manager since he was with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, he has a track record of winning wherever he goes.
Over the course of his 20-year career as a manager, Baker has won a division title with every club he managed (five first place finishes), has a career winning percentage of .526 (eight 90+ win seasons), and was the manager of the NL pennant winning San Francisco Giants back in 2002.
The one thing that has always worked for Baker is that he is a players’ manager. When you consider the situation between Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper from last season, Baker seems to be the perfect manager to fix the chemistry issue in the clubhouse. However, Baker did have some interesting comments to Bob Nightengale of USA Today about chemistry:
"“The only reason David was the leader against Goliath was because nobody else had the nuts enough to fight him. You’ve got to change the mind-set, and try to change the losing mentality and culture.’’ (h/t Nightengale, USA Today)"
Baker played 19 seasons in the Major Leagues with teams such as the Dodgers, Braves, A’s, and Giants. While it will be interesting to see how he handles the instant replay system, Baker seems to be the right fit for the job in Washington D.C.
Next: Number One