WHEN FIRING THE MANAGER DOESN’T HELP. Murray Chass on Baseball

By Murray Chass on July 22, 2018

 

By Murray Chass

In an unprecedented wave of dismissals, three managers who led their teams to the post-season last year were excused from further duty with their teams: John Farrell in American League East champion Boston, Joe Girardi in New York with the A.L. wild-card Yankees and Dusty Baker in National League East champion Washington.

Now that the season has resumed following the All-Star break, this is a good time to see where those teams and their new managers are.

The Red Sox, under rookie Alex Cora, are exactly where they finished with Farrell, leading the A.L. East. The Yankees, also with a rookie, Aaron Boone, managing them, are in second place and have the best wild-card record.

So much for consistency. It ends with the Nationals, who have struggled in trying to justify their firing Baker and replacing him with rookie Dave Martinez. Perhaps the oddest aspect of the Nationals’ managerial machinations is they decided when they hired Baker that they would replace him after two years, no matter how well the team did under Baker.

In fact, Baker produced two division champions in two seasons, but he failed to get the Nationals beyond the division round of the post-season either year, losing five-game series to the Dodgers and the Cubs.

The Nationals, Baker said, have never explained why they limited him to two years, despite his regular-season success (95 and 97 wins).

“I was never told anything, and I didn’t ask,” he said.

Nor have the Nationals explained why …

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