The Washington Nationals have named a new manager and it isn't the expected choice.
Last week, the Nationals were planning on hiring Bud Black to become their new manager. However, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported, contract issues caused the deal to turn in a sour direction and the team began to look elsewhere.
On Tuesday, the Nationals announced the hiring of Dusty Baker to become their manager, as Heyman mentioned. Baker was the other finalist in the sweepstakes, but was thought have lost out to Black.
The 66-year-old Baker has agreed to a two-year deal with the Nationals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. It is likely that he will be paid much less with Washington than he was paid when he managed Reds.
Baker has 20 seasons of managerial experience, leading the Giants for 10 years, the Cubs for four years, and the Reds for six years. He led the 2002 Giants to the NL Pennant and has won the 1993, 1997, and 2000 NL Manager of the Year awards.
Overall, Baker has a career 1671-1504 record (.526) as manager and has led his teams to an average of 2.7th place in their division.
Baker is known as a player's manager, as players have respected and have played hard for Baker throughout his career, highlighted in an article by ESPN.com. However, as Neil Weinberg of BeyondTheBoxScore.com writes, Baker's lineup construction and bullpen management have been questioned.
Baker will have work to do in turning the Nationals around. The team went 83-79 and finished second in the NL East, even though they were expected to be World Series contenders. Many issues arose in the Nationals' clubhouse throughout the course of the season, which led to the firing of now ex-manager Matt Williams.