Dusty Baker wants to continue managing the Nationals beyond the 2017 season, but ownership has yet to make him an extension offer, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. According to Janes, GM Mike Rizzo made a strong recommendation to ownership that the team extend its relationship with Baker, but nothing has materialized. Janes spoke to Rizzo, Ryan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer about Baker, with each offering praise and voicing a hope that he’ll remain beyond the current season. Scherzer, in particular, spoke on behalf of keeping Baker at the team’s helm. “We love him,” said the two-time Cy Young winner. “We want him here. They [ownership] want to be patient, but I hope they don’t mess with this clubhouse.” Janes notes that the Nats have a history of underpaying managers, which may have cost them a chance at Bud Black two offseasons ago. Baker acknowledged that he knew what he was getting into, financially speaking, when joining the Nationals but also suggested that he feels his current two-year, $4MM contract is a bit light. “…I think I’ve earned more than I’m being paid,” he said.
More from the NL East…
- The Post’s Thomas Boswell further weighs in on Baker’s contract situation, expressing perplexity over ownership’s lack of urgency in extending Baker even through the 2018 season. Boswell adds further praise for Baker from Nationals righty Tanner Roark, who lauds Baker’s ability to connect with virtually anyone. Perhaps most interesting from Boswell’s piece, though, is a quote from an unnamed “key member” of the Nationals organization suggesting that ownership serves as a hindrance not only in managerial decisions but in roster construction. “When you’re this close to winning, you have to make the one move that your team really needs,” Boswell’s source said. “Right now, the Lerners are the problem. They won’t spend, even though it’s not much, compared to how close we are. [General Manager] Mike Rizzo and Dusty aren’t the problem [with the bullpen]. The owners just don’t get it.”
- Yoenis Cespedes somewhat quietly began a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday night, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. The Mets didn’t announce the rehab assignment for Cespedes this time around, after his last rehab effort was shut down. Information from the team has been “pointedly vague” to this point, Ackert contends, noting that the team is becoming increasingly cautious with medical information after the myriad health controversies they’ve faced in 2017. Cespedes played left field with the Mets’ Florida State League (Class-A Advanced) affiliate Thursday.
- Relief prospect Jesen Therrien has put himself on the map for a 2017 call-up with the Phillies, manager Pete Mackanin told reporters (via CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury). Philadelphia brought Therrien over to big league camp a couple of times in Spring Training, and his slider caught Mackanin’s eye right away. His first two months of the season have done nothing to dissuade Mackanin’s interest; Therrien tore through Double-A opponents with a 1.26 ERA and a preposterous 39-to-3 K/BB ratio across 28 2/3 innings before being promoted to Triple-A. He’s tossed four more scoreless innings there with four punchouts and no walks. “For me, he’s on the map,” said Mackanin. “Especially out of the bullpen, if you have a good breaking ball and can command it, that’s half the battle.” The Montreal native was the Phillies’ 17th-round pick back in 2011.