Oct. 14: Showalter and Girardi are set to interview with the Phillies today, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Baker’s interview will take place later this week.
Oct. 13: With the Phillies beginning the interview process for their next manager, the team is set to interview Dusty Baker for the vacant position later this week, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Baker is currently serving as a special adviser to the Giants, who have granted Philadelphia permission to meet with Baker.
If the Phillies are seeking a manager with big-league experience, Baker surely fits the bill. At age 70, he comes with plenty of history to his name, having managed for 22 years and compiling a 1863-1636 overall record. If the Phillies were frustrated with Kapler’s approach to the game, Baker essentially represents his exact opposite.
He fits the trend of the names that have surfaced in the Phillies’ search for Kapler’s replacement. Between Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi, and now Baker, there’s a distinct pattern of traits that the organization seems to prioritize; namely, someone who can bridge the gap between “analytics and tradition.” That’s a reversal of the prevailing trend in Major League Baseball towards young, cheap, and inexperienced managers. And for a Phillies team that finds itself firmly in win-now mode, the list of candidates sends a clear message that owner John Middleton believes a seasoned managerial veteran can help his club secure a World Series win in the very near future.
For Baker, his Phillies interview will mark his first connection to an MLB managing job since the Nationals fired him after the 2017 season.
He’s previously managed the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals, winning an NL pennant in San Francisco, where he was thrice named Manager of the Year. He’s guided his teams to the postseason nine times throughout his career. The one thing missing from his timeless managerial career: a World Series title. With that in mind, there’s no doubt that Baker and the Phillies will be united in that goal.
Even so, it’s fair to question just how much interest Baker himself has in returning to an MLB dugout. He’s spent the last two seasons working as a special adviser in the Giants front office, and doesn’t seem to particularly miss the stress of handling a club’s day-to-day operations. And after more than 40 years spent as a player and manager, it would certainly be understandable if Baker was content to stay out of the business for good.