The Nationals announced on Friday that they will not bring back Dusty Baker as manager for the 2018 season, despite praise from his players and rumblings that the two sides had been discussing a reunion in recent days. In fact, the club intends to replace the entire coaching staff. The decision comes in the wake of yet another tough NLDS loss for a club that fought injuries to many key players in order to grab the NL’s second-best regular season record.
A few other clubs began their managerial search well before the Nationals, and at least one option (Ron Gardenhire, now with the Tigers) is off the table. The Red Sox appear to be nearing the end of their search as well. Another factor that could limit the club’s options is the organization’s pattern with the lengths of their managerial contracts. In the past decade, the Nationals have never been willing to guarantee a manager more than two years at a time, a factor that could be a deal breaker to certain candidates also in the mix for jobs with other clubs.
On Saturday, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported on Twitter that the Nationals have requested permission from the Astros to interview Astros bench coach. Some reports from Boston media outlets say that Cora is already tabbed to manage the Red Sox in 2018, and that the club is simply waiting until after the ALCS to announce the news. A source close to Evan Drellich of NBC Boston even told him, “Not a doubt it is [Cora].” But the invitation to interview with the Nationals could certainly throw a wrench into this rumor.
The 42 year-old Cora played mostly in the middle infield throughout his 14-year major league career, including a 2011 stint with the Nationals in his final year before retirement. Many have spoken highly of Cora’s presence in the clubhouse during that time, which would prove valuable on a Washington team with a lot of young talent on the roster.