Washington Nationals Manager Dusty Baker starts his second year in the dugout in DC. How does he stack up with his colleagues in 2017?
As we start this year’s rankings of where the division sits by player position, sorting out who is the best in leading their squad of 25 is a difficult task. Some teams do not have the talent of others. Others dealt with a difficult offseason. Baker has to rally his own troops after last season’s playoff disappointment and no closer.
We know one thing for sure, the Nats will not race through the NL East 20 games over .500 as they did last year. If they repeat as division champions, the challenge is a notch or two higher.
The modern manager is misunderstood. His job is not to set the lineup and win. Today’s skippers need to balance playing times. Without the designated hitter, they need to plan their game plan with higher precision and then improvise when the starter is bombed in the second inning.
A good manager is a parent to his club, helping players navigate any issue from a slump to a crumbling marriage. Most of their best work remains unseen and off the Internet. They never get proper credit when things go right, but plenty of blame when things go south.
Heading into the 2017 campaign, here is how the chess players stack up.