Dusty Baker’s remarkable life and career is profiled in an insightful piece from Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post. Baker shares several intimate details about his many professional and personal ups and downs, some responses to criticism that his managerial style is too “old-school” for today’s game, and his path back into baseball as the Nationals’ new skipper. Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- The bullpen and defense stand out as the biggest areas of improvement for the Nationals if they’re to rebound, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson opines as part of a reader mailbag. It remains to be seen how new relief acquisitions like Shawn Kelley, Yusmeiro Petit and Trevor Gott will fare in Washington, and Ladson wonders if Jonathan Papelbon will also start to decline in his age-35 season.
- The Phillies are looking to make another big score from the Rule 5 Draft in the form of Tyler Goeddel, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes. Goeddel was the first pick of December’s draft, going from the Rays farm system to a shot at a regular Major League gig in the Phillies outfielder.
- In an interview with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link with an audio clip) Braves president of baseball ops John Hart said his club is “gonna be players” on the international market and they “hope to be very active.” Atlanta is expected to be perhaps the most aggressive team in the 2016-17 international signing period, as the Braves are reportedly prepared to far exceed their bonus pool limit in order to load up on premium young talent. They’ve already been linked to such notable top prospects as Venezuelan infielder Kevin Maitan and Cuban outfielder Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros.
- Liberty Media, the Braves’ corporate ownership group, has released some documentation about the team’s finances as part of its plan to issue public shares in the Braves, Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes (subscription required). It’s a very interesting behind-the-scenes look at the Braves’ financial picture, including how the team suffered quite significant operating losses over the last two years, though depreciation and amortization played a large part in putting the team in the red.
- In NL East news from earlier today on MLBTR, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson shared the latest on the relationship between Jose Fernandez and the Marlins.