Dusty Baker has been removed from consideration for the attractive Washington Nationals managerial opening, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. On Oct. 9, Kilgore reported that Baker was interested in reaching out to the organization about the position, left vacant after Davey Johnson retired following the season.
As of Friday afternoon, the Nationals hadn't shown mutual interest, per Kilgore:
Baker, 64, remains one of the most attractive managerial candidates this offseason despite being fired by the Cincinnati Reds earlier this month. Baker led the Reds to the playoffs in three out of the past four seasons, but the team was knocked out of the National League Wild Card Game by Pittsburgh, capping off the season with six straight losses.
Three days later he was out of the job, with general manager Walt Jocketty citing the late-season collapse as a factor for his firing. "Just the way we played lately was a factor," Jocketty said, per ESPN.com. "But I think the way the season ended was kind of the final decision. The last six games certainly played a big part in this."
It was an unceremonious end to his six-year stint in Cincinnati. Baker has formed his group of critics over the years with the way he uses pitchers and manages the game, as detailed by Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus, per Deadspin.com. But he's been able to bring his teams to the postseason, as he also guided the 2002 San Francisco Giants to the World Series.
The Nationals have a young, talented nucleus with players like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. According to Kilgore, the team is interested in hiring a younger manager, perhaps another factor in the decision to spurn Baker, who was the fourth-oldest manager in 2013 behind Johnson (70), Jim Leyland (69) of the Detroit Tigers and Terry Collins (64) of the New York Mets.
Washington has been linked to other managerial candidates like Cal Ripken Jr. and Brad Ausmus. Recently, Arizona third base coach Matt Williams, 47, has emerged as a favorite, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com:
Other current managerial openings include the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. Baker has a history of health problems, but recently told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he still wants to manage:
He might be shut out of Washington, but Baker deserves a long look from other clubs that need a skipper.