Washington Nationals: How Does Baker Fit With NL East Managers?

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Oct 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) before the Nationals play against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) before the Nationals play against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Nationals Manager Dusty Baker starts his second year in the dugout in DC. How does he stack up with his colleagues in 2017?

The National League East is chock full of good managers going into 2017, including Washington Nationals skipper Dusty Baker.

Gone are the likes of Fredi Gonzalez and Matt Williams. In a division creeping closer to parity, the five men running the bench are as solid a unit as you find. The gap in talent is narrow.

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.

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