The Morning Report
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1. Why would the Padres go after this guy? Yes, he has a bevy of experiences. But he isn’t necessarily in tune with Sandy Alderson’s “Moneyball” statistical analysis of the game. And this late in his career is Baker willing to work closely with management?
2. Baker won a championship in 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a player. Winning is infectious. Baker has won it all, so he knows what it takes to win a world championship.
3. Dusty’s long tenure in San Francisco (1993-2002) and his shorter stint in Chicago (2003-2006) never produced a World Series title. The Giants came close in 2002 (losing to the Angels) and the Cubs woes are well-documented (the 2003 Bartman ball). Despite having good teams in both locales, Dusty hasn’t gotten the job done at the managerial level.
4. Nicknames are important in baseball, and Johnnie B. Baker Jr. has a good one. As a player, a “Dusty” is a blue-collar guy, diving after plays and sliding head first into third base. What does it mean for a manager?
5. With the White Sox celebrating a World Series title and the Cubs still wallowing in mediocrity, the “In Dusty We Trusty!” shirts have all been burned in Chicago. Baker was criticized by Cubs faithful for overuse of pitchers and at times unorthodox game management.
6. A three-time Manager of the Year, Baker has the respect of players and coaches alike. He might make it easier to lure top assistants and more importantly, free agents.
– CHRIS NIXON