I’ve been openly against Dusty Baker since the Matt Williams error ended (if not in a literal sense, but a figurative sense) and was relieved that Bud Black got the job. The knock on Baker (who let’s face it, has a likable name and will henceforth be known as Dusty) is an anti-OBP, pitcher-killer. It’s probably not completely wrong, but he’s shown himself to regularly manage teams that win 90 games or more, sometimes even their division and one time, even a pennant. Ask Russ Ortiz how that went?2
Of course, Black, who had a good reputation with pitchers, didn’t sign — he may have been selected, but the Nats may have low-balled him. It figures, a DC-beat writer breaks the story and it all goes to hell.
Keeping with the mid-2000s theme that Distinguished Senators embraced, Davey Lopes is back in the 1st base coaches box. His magical ability to clap and say “let’s go Alfonso” seemed to have worked the last time around and he does wear a Phillies World Championship ring for his first-post Nats position. Perhaps the incredibly-shrinking Barry Bonds can come aboard as hitting coach, though not nutritionist, as well.
The 2015 Nats should have won 90 games just by showing up, but were so poorly managed5 that they barely broke .500 despite having a historical season from Bryce Harper, who by the way, Dusty, doesn’t need humbling. Dusty gets the challenge of getting the back end of the bullpen to remove their heads from their posteriors and focus on pitching well instead of policing their teammates or sulking. I don’t know if Dusty can do it, but at least the press conferences should be better than the “Jim Riggleman with an on-field pedigree” we were getting the last two seasons.
1Modifier “television rights situation” is surely extraneous
2Actually, ask the relievers who blew that series more than Ortiz, but nobody remembers their names as they weren’t given the ball by Dusty.