The Nationals sparked some backlash today with the surprising decision not to retain manager Dusty Baker. Bob Nightengale of USA Today was particularly incensed, slamming the organization not only for the substance of the move, but also for leaving Baker dangling in the wind for the past week-and-a-half. Baker tells Nightengale that he’s “surprised and disappointed” after leading the team to two-straight NL East titles but also failing to advance past the NLDS. It’s worth keeping some perspective here: after all, Baker is a highly-compensated professional and this is a results-oriented business. But the move does seem somewhat confusing from the outside and certainly fits the ever-growing record of questionable interactions between ownership and managers in D.C. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post also examined the risk the club is taking with the switch.
More from the National League:
- Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley has received a stem-cell injection in his troublesome right elbow, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweets. The hope is that the treatment, combined with a full offseason of rest, will allow Kelley to return at full health next year. He is not expected to require any surgery at this time. Kelley, who is slated to earn another $5.5MM in the final season of his contract, somehow allowed a dozen home runs in just 26 innings in 2017 while also maintaining a 13.5% swinging-strike rate. Given his history of quality relief work, perhaps there’s still hope that he can contribute once again in 2018.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tackled a host of interesting Cardinals questions in his latest chat, some highlights of which are available here. Of particular note, he says it’s no secret that righty Lance Lynn is going to seek a big contract — something on the order of Jordan Zimmermann’s $110MM guarantee — in free agency. While St. Louis has interest in retaining Lynn, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of it entering that stratosphere to do so. (Whether any other teams will do so seems questionable, too.)
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals have lost bench coach David Bell to the Giants, where he’ll serve as the VP of player development. That could kick off some other changes for these two organizations, both of which are looking to bounce back from postseason misses in 2017 (and a much more serious collapse in the case of San Francisco). Bell had worked in the St. Louis dugout since 2014. The twelve-year MLB veteran spent time with both organizations during his playing career.