Baltimore Orioles: Buzzing up and down I-95
As you may recall, I was as surprised as anyone to hear of the Baltimore Orioles’ Buck Showalter‘s name on Philadelphia’s wish list of managers a couple of weeks back. It made no sense to me whatsoever that a manager under contract to another team would even be on someone’s radar. And I still stand by my statements from last week; if Philadelphia would even want the Orioles to consider cutting Buck loose, the Orioles would have to be able to gut Philadelphia’s farm system.
However there is a manager in the region who’s contract is up once the league season is over: Dusty Baker. The Washington Nationals’ manager of course is currently managing in the NLDS, and his team is tied at one game a piece with the Chicago Cubs. The series resumes today at Wrigley Field.
Baker is a great manager, most certainly on par with the Showalter’s of the world. He was given a two-year contract with Washington following the 2015 season, a deal which inexplicably hasn’t been extended at this point. Furthermore from Philadelphia’s standpoint, he manages a division rival.
In theory, contracts that are up after any given season expire in the immediacy of the World Series ending. If Washington makes it to the fall classic, it might be bad form for a team to reach out to Baker’s agent and inquire about a contract. But if they don’t make it that far, would it not behoove Philadelphia or any other potential team with a need in the dugout to look into Baker’s services?
My prediction is that Baker’s managing in Washington for the Nationals on Opening Day of 2018. However the fact is that right now he’s out of a job once the season concludes. I thought it was a little overly-aggressive for Philadelphia to have a sitting manager under contract for next year on their managerial radar, but especially with a skipper of equal caliber that in theory is going to be available.
On that note, it also seems to be bad form on Washington’s part to let Baker flail in the wind like this. He’s too accomplished as an MLB manager to have to wonder about his future. And quite frankly it would serve Washington right if he did walk – especially to a division rival. But so far as we know, Philadelphia has no interest in Dusty Baker. Only apparently Buck Showalter.