The Washington Nationals just announced that Dusty Baker would not return for a third year as manager. Baker had a two-year contract and took the Nationals to the postseason both years. Here’s an insightful article about the pros and cons of the Nats bringing Baker back, written by the fantastic Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post on Tuesday night.

Baker was the Reds manager from 2009-2013.

Baker’s last managed the Reds in the postseason play-in game against the Pirates in PNC Park. The one where Cueto dropped the ball. That was Oct. 1, 2013. Here is Chad’s recap from that fateful game. The next morning, I wrote this, calling for the Reds to not renew Baker’s contract. (FWIW, The previous year, after the NLDS disaster against the Giants, I had written the Reds should bring Baker back.) Three days later, on the morning of Oct. 4, the Reds fired Baker.

Walt Jocketty cited the need for new leadership, a new voice. Baker said he was fired because he would not go along with the Reds plans to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby. Owner Bob Castellini denied that Baker’s stubbornness over Jacoby was the reason. Here is how the coverage of Baker’s firing from the Reds unfolded.

67 Responses

  1. kmartin

    Definition of “Worst Case Scenario”: Reds fire Price, hire Baker. Then we can have Hamilton and Peraza hit one-two for the next several years.

    • JO (@ghettotrout1)

      No I think Dusty is a ten times better manager than Price…… Price has lost his cool on more than one occasion with the Media which in my opinion is totally bush league remember the 70 some F bombs he dropped a year or two ago. Not to mention Price’s obsession with not playing young players (Tim Adleman, Bronson Arroyo, Asher Wocjhouski) while giving Reed one single start and Lorenzen none…. Also at the end of the year not getting Winker and Irvin in the starting lineup. I can’t wait til Price is gone.

      • Dewey Roberts

        That is my view of Price also. I have not been favorable towards him since he dropped those 70 something F bombs. He does not have the composure to be a manager.

      • kmartin

        I do not view dropping F bombs as offensive as a manager sitting there idly while one of his players berates a beat writer.

      • Dewey Roberts

        I never defended Dusty- just pointed out that Price’s profanity laced outbursts to reporters is not worthy of a manager. So you think it is better for a manager to act that way than to watch a player do it????? Interesting. Price is not a manager- period. He had the worst record in the history of the Reds.

      • greenmtred

        People lose their tempers. That one tirade has haunted him, but it scarcely constitutes a pattern. Joey dropped an f-bomb, too, for that matter, and it didn’t bother me any more than Price’s. Words, that’s all.

      • kmartin

        Dewey, yes I absolutely think what Baker did was worse than Price’s F bomb parade. The reason I think so is that Phillips was personally attacking Rosecrans.

      • VaRedsFan

        I agree with GreenMTRed. People get offended sooo easily these days. Nobody gets mad if Belicheck or Popovich or Pinella does it. Get over it already. Neither Price nor Dusty’s actions during a press conference affect the outcome of baseball games.

      • VaRedsFan

        @Jo…Winker went on the DL during the last month of the season. Do you know for a fact if he was not been held back because of injury? It was never asked of him nor was it made public, why Winker wasn’t playing. Nursing an injury could explain it.

    • James H.

      That would definitely be an addition to Hell’s Sports Bar…

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Four teams loaded with talent, arguably the most talented teams at the time, with the same results each time…division championships and little to no post-season success.

    By all accounts, Dusty is a fine man, father and husband. He had a fabulous baseball career. His record is as a manager will almost certainly place him in the HOF, but his success as a manager was directly related to the talent he managed rather than his skill as a manager. Best wishes to Dusty, but I believe this was his last hurrah as a manager.

    The sad off-shoot of Dusty’s managerial stint with the Reds was inheriting Price (Baker-lite) as manager for four seasons (and counting) with probably the worst record of any Reds manager and the same shortcomings as Baker as a manager.

    The Nats have one more shot at a championship before that team begins a massive restructuring in player personnel. At least the Nats management could recognize the writing on the wall and move on. I just wish the Reds management had the same capability. Alas, the Reds management waits until after-the-fact before making any necessary move that almost everyone else has recognized as necessary for some time.

    • greenmtred

      I believe that any manager’s success is a direct offshoot of the talent he manages. A manager is an easy scapegoat. Will the Cubs fire Maddon? Should they? The postseason is a crapshoot involving the best teams in the game, and by the time it gets to the LCS, the air is rarified indeed, and the outcomes are unpredictable. One pitcher having an inspired week or so can make the difference. One error by a usually good fielder, a fan plucking a foul ball out of a fielder’s glove, a goat, scape or otherwise, Billy Hatcher hitting .750, and so on. The Red Sox probably lost because Houston outplayed them. The Cubs probably lost because the Dodgers outplayed them.

      • Colorado Red

        Joe won a WS last year.
        Dusty seems to have real issues in the post season.

      • greenmtred

        Dusty’s teams seem to have a problem in the post season. They often make the post season, though, and most teams don’t. Most teams–all but one–who make the post season have a problem in the post season. Surmising is what we do, I get that, but I think that we critique managers out of proportion to their impact, probably because many of us imagine that we could be managers ourselves.

  3. jessecuster44

    To all the Nats fans…

    We told you so. Sorry.

    • JO (@ghettotrout1)

      The nationals didn’t make it out of the first round 4 times only 2 of those were under Bakers regime. So I don’t think it was Dusty’s fault.

    • Shchi Cossack

      The same message Giants fans shared Cubs fans and the same message Cubs fans shared with Reds fans…

  4. Sandman

    I so wanted to believe in Dusty Baker. It ticks me off that everybody else was right about him. I was really pulling for him with Washington bcuz I wanted everybody to eat their words or at least think twice about should we of let him go (whether it was mutual or not). But Baker had a pretty stacked team in Washington and still couldn’t do anything and it ticks me off that I’m starting to see what everyone was talking about. I feel sorry for Baker and I will always hope he wins a championship should he decide to keep managing after this (just so long as it’s not for a team I hate, lol). I really think he deserves to win a championship.

    • greenmtred

      One team, and one team only, wins the World Series. Is there only one good manager in baseball each year?

      • james garrett

        Good point and I don’t know how many there are but he maybe the only one that feels like he has a job next year.

      • Jack

        At some point in time you have to realize that everybody on redleg nation is right. They are the perfect managers and everything that comes out of their mouth is right. Everyone of them contradicts themselves at some point. It might be days or months down the line but they have short memories.

    • Still a Red

      You cannot blame Dusty for bringing in Scherzer in the 5th inning, getting two quick outs, then having the catcher hit in the head with the bat on strike 3, umps don’t call dead ball, catcher throws it into the right field, then catcher interference on the next batter, then a hit batsman, with a double down the line scoring two runs in there too, or with Werth’s patented sliding catch that he missed by a foot or a team that batted or a team batting avg. under .200. Maybe you could blame him for playing Werth?? The year before, Dusty couldn’t play his full starting lineup until the last month of the season. Nor can you blame him for the team getting no-hit in game 1 in 2010 (facing perhaps the best starting pitchers in baseball…good pitching usually trumps good hitting in a short series), or Bruce dropping the ball in right field. Nor can you blame him for Bailey losing 1-0 in a great pitched game in game 3 in 2012. Maybe you can blame him for leaving Latos in to give up Posey’s grand slam?
      I’m afraid the man is snake-bit…

      • Eric

        Blame Dusty for leaving a pitcher in too long? It’s his TRADEMARK!

      • Kyle Farmer

        I can absolutely blame him for playing Rolen at 3B in the game Bailey pitched. Frazier makes the play that cost the Reds that game but he’s sitting on the bench beside Dusty because of his ridiculous views on veterans.

      • VaRedsFan

        OMG…YESS! Scott Rolen was a shell of himself after coming back from injury. Todd stepped up big time in his absence, only to have the rug yanked away when inured Scott returned.

      • VaRedsFan

        The Dodgers didn’t put Bellinger on the bench when A-Gon got back from injury.

      • Eric (@eric3287)

        As mentioned before, the insistence on playing Rolen over Frazier in 2012 because “the veteran” was inexcusable. They lost game 3 2-1, Chapman threw, I think, 12 pitches in the 9th inning and didn’t come back for the 10th. Chapman didn’t pitch at all in Games 4 or 5. He left Leake in entirely too long in game 4, seemingly “playing for game 5” instead of actually trying to win. I think a guy named Jose Arrendondo pitched in that game.

        Game 5 this year played out very similar to Game 6 in the 2002 World Series, Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS and even game 2 of the 2010 NLDS. Something goes wrong and the wheels just completely fall off. Is that completely on the manager? No, of course not. But Dusty gets so much credit for “setting the tone” in the clubhouse that he has to take some of the blame for the way his teams, year in and year out, collapse at the end.

      • james garrett

        He gets hired because he wins in the regular season.He gets fired because he loses in the playoffs.Both will probably happen again although this is 4 times for him getting fired.I said after game 5 he would probably lose his job.Got to feel for him though because he reacted as if he did a great job but he was brought there to win the World Series period.He was given a 2 year deal I believe so that tells you what the Nats wanted doesn’t it.

    • Colorado Red

      No post season series losses since he left

    • Jack

      Yeah David but then everyone of these couch managers wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

  5. Jeffrey Copeland

    I was trying to accumulate all of the “Dusty’s rules for managing a baseball team” I could think of and here is what I had so far(Feel free to add):
    1. A closer can not achieve 4 outs in a ball game.
    2. Always save the closer in a close or tight game, even when it is obviously falling apart, because you might need him for a later never achieved save situation.
    3. Bat the fastest guy first even if his OBP is lower than the Pitching staff, because SPEED!
    4. Always play the burnt out gritty veteran over the young guy. The old guy has earned his at-bats.

    • Steven Ross

      The back of his baseball card says he will eventually hit.

      You never want to clog the bases.

      Truth be told, I like Dusty and would like to see him succeed with a WS win but I just don’t think it’ll happen now. His lineups did drive me nuts though.

      • greenmtred

        That first rule–the back of his card says he will eventually hit–is a different way of saying what often gets said here: A player is and will be what his stats say he is.

    • Daytonian

      But, to be fair, Dusty did learn and this year did deviate from the old rules.

      In Washington, the SS did not bat second. Amazing.
      And the fastest man in the lineup did not lead off.
      And in the playoffs, he did not extend his starting pitchers as if it were the regular season.

      Dusty adapted. But too late.

    • Colorado Red

      Seems like Price got all of these

    • VaRedsFan

      “I remember back when I played with Hank Aaron, we…..”

  6. james garrett

    He managed us when we were good so it can be hard not to root for him.Given the talent his style works in the regular season.By his style I mean his vets play rule and his closer rules along with his get a way lineup and his famous can’t wear down the bullpen because it will cost us down the road.Talent always wins over 162 game season but all bets are off come play off time.The game changes and every game must be managed like its the last game.Its not in him to view the game that way.Its just who he is and he will go down as a good one that always fell short.

  7. Steven Ross

    The Nationals were 192-132 under Baker while winning their first back-to-back division titles in team history. His .593 winning percentage was the best in Nationals franchise history for a manger who led the team for at least one full season.

    Listen….ahhh….we appreciate everything you’ve done but you’re fired.

  8. Reaganspad

    I never had a problem with cheering for Sparky Anderson’s Tigers

    I lived in the Bay when Baker was with the Giants and in Chicago when he was with the Cubs

    Johnnie B. is too much the victim for me

    I was never a fan of his for the Reds

  9. enfueago

    I thought Dusty was a great fit for the Nats and there were none of the clubhouse conflicts they had before he arrived. Papelbon was never gonna choke Harper (or anyone else) on Dusty’s team. He gets the most out of his players. That said, he is a disaster as a game manager. Baker drives the fans crazy because we can see his mistakes but we can’t see what he does right. I predict the Nats will be worse without him.

    • VaRedsFan

      This is pretty much how I feel. Good with the clubhouse, not so much with game decisions

  10. Aaron Bradley

    I am sure his decision to pull Scherzer working on a 1 hitter for a guy with ERA 5+ was instrumental to this decision. It seems his master strategy was to save Scerzer for middle relief two games later where he got shelled. He has the temperment/patience for regular season managing but no sense of urgency in the playoffs.

  11. Abdul

    Rumor has it that the Nats are going after Price because he’s so good. Stay tuned.

    • Colorado Red

      They offered to switch first round picks, and Dick and Price agreed.

  12. TR

    I’m sorry to see Dusty gone from the Nationals. I thought this was the year for him to win a WS title. He certainly was a fine ballplayer with the Braves and Dodgers. I didn’t think he was the manager for the Reds in 2009 but felt Pete Mackanin should have been retained. And lots of water under the bridge.

    • 83champ

      I’m like you. I thought Mackanin should’ve gotten the job.

      • TR

        Yes, Pete Mackanin seemed like a serious baseball guy with a good sense of humor. A good managerial combination.

  13. Keith

    Thought it was interesting where Dusty said he was surprised he wasn’t being brought back because he felt like this was his best season yet. Hard to imagine another manager saying that about a season that ends with such disappointment.

    I think Dusty is one of the best people around in terms of quality men with character. I just don’t like the way he manages in the playoffs. Wish him the best, glad he’s not managing here anymore.

    • james garrett

      That’s why he lost his job.He doesn’t get it that winning the regular season isn’t good enough

  14. Jreis

    Dusty just seems to loose his nerve during playoff times. No double steals,no bunts, no hit and runs. Like he is afraid to make mistakes. He is a great regular season coach and the players do play hard for him. I would take him back in Cincinnati in a heart beat

  15. jaY jOHNSON

    I have read repeatedly on this site that managers almost never win or lose games.That they affect outcomes rarely if ever.I have disputed that but get no support.Why then does Dusty repeatedly lose in the playoffs?

    • greenmtred

      Because he’s too old to hit the high fastball? A strategic decision is as good or bad as the execution. I’ll also point out that judging Dusty (or any manager) on his team’s playoff performances really needs to be tempered by the small-sample-size caveat.

      • james garrett

        Tell that to the Nats GM because Dusty got fired for losing game 5 of a 5 game series in the playoffs.

    • VaRedsFan

      I believe managers are more at fault then some on this site feel too. You could go back and look at game threads and recaps, and see how many bonehead in-game moves that Price would make. A large handful of recaps, also spelled out where mistakes (or better choices) could have been made. I’m thinking at least 3 games a month, and that’s being generous.

      Now some so called bad decisions, work out, and they win anyway. (Like leaving Adelman in to pitch the 7th, and he goes 1-2-3, for example). Everybody on the planet probably thinks that’s a bad move, but it worked, so should we throw credit to the manager for that one?

      • james garrett

        Nope because we shouldn’t blame him when he makes the right decision and they lose.My problem with Price is he keeps making the same bad decisions over and over and loses the game.

  16. Scott Gennett

    Nats are within a very tough market to compete with, I foresee them looking for hot-shot type of Manager now.

  17. Colorado Red

    Not a single post season loss, sense we fired Dusty.
    the strategy might be working
    (of course 3 straight 90 loss seasons is not so good)

  18. Bill

    He seemed like a good guy, and it seems players liked him. It just feels like he let things go too far and refused to change. I think sometimes he had his player’s back too much. A good example is when BP went off on Rosecrans in his office and just sat there smiling. On the other hand I can’t place sole blame on him, the players are adults and are paid to execute.

  19. TR

    With the Yankees loss to the Astros and Joe Girardi’s contract up for extension, could Girardi turn up as the Reds manager in 2019?

    • David

      More likely Barry Larkin. Not THAT crazy about Joe Girardi. And not that crazy about Barry Larkin, either. I like Barry a lot as a person and a player.

      So many ML managers are good guys, who “know the game”, but actually bring a sort of fixed formula/acumen that is very common among many candidates. I have been impressed with a few managers who are willing to step out of the mold and think for themselves. Some managers are very astute in mentoring players, and bringing out the best in their players That is a quality that is very hard to judge.

  20. doctor

    Dusty Baker with Nationals in playoffs is 0-5 in 1 run games. His Nationals lost both series despite out scoring the opponent in both series. The Nats made the correct move.

    • TR

      It will be the correct move if the Nats can find someone to bring all that talent together to win a world series for Washington, their second one since the first in 1924.

  21. Nate

    Girardi is available, would love him over Price

    • Shchi Cossack

      Yeah, that would be interesting, but the Reds got the man they wanted without even looking anywhere else and Girardi will almost certainly land at a big money team with a manager vacancy. I can see a a Girardi/Nats union without even squinting.