DUSTY BAKER – WASHINGTON NATIONALS
When Dusty Baker grabbed the helm of the Washington Nationals, he was not their first choice. By the time the champagne and beer flowed in Pittsburgh, he was the best choice.
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As you know, unity was not a team idea in 2015. Matt Williams was destined to go long before Jonathan Papelbon tried to choke Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Baker, who came to the job with a reputation of overworking starting pitching and the inability to win the big game, put the Nats back on track. Whatever problems were happening behind the scenes stayed there. By September, the division was not in doubt. The team played as one.
You can blame Baker for what happened in the NL Divisional Series, but no Stephen Strasburg and Wilson Ramos doomed the team from the start. Remember, they pushed the Los Angeles Dodgers into using Clayton Kershaw on one-day of rest to in the series.
With replay, his success rate was not good, winning 19 of 47. As a fan, you want a relaxed and professional manner instead. After a few seasons away, he guided the Nats to the playoffs and finished third in the NL Manager of the Year vote.
Not a bad first season back.