WASHINGTON — Two days removed from breaking up with manager Dusty Baker over the phone, the Washington Nationals are already sitting on the floor after the first round of coaching musical chairs.
Besides the Nats, there were four other teams in search of new management: the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Of those, the Tigers have already formally introduced former Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire, while the Red Sox and Mets have reportedly made official moves.
Here’s the latest:
Boston Red Sox
Alex Cora, the hottest managerial candidate after serving as bench coach for the Houston Astros, was linked to the Red Sox before the Nats let Baker go. Despite this, the team still made it known that they would like to interview Cora for the vacant position:
The feeling was not mutual, and Cora did not pursue the opportunity:
Cora was named the Red Sox’s next manager on Sunday afternoon without formally considering what the Nats had to offer. This is a Nationals team that has won 192 games over the last two years (vs. 186 for Boston), arguably plays in a weaker division than the Red Sox (easier route to the playoffs), and has equal if not better star talent.
This is a Nats organization where he played his final season (compared to three-plus seasons in Boston) and was previously offered a job in player development. He knows his way around the Nationals, and he still declined to be interviewed.
This could be an ongoing theme as the Nationals try to prove to top candidates that they are both a good place to play and a stable place to manage.
New York Mets
Former Nationals manager Manny Acta was a finalist for the Mets’ gig, but Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway was named the new manager on Sunday, taking another appealing candidate off the market.
Callaway pitched professionally in the late 1990s, early 2000s, before turning to coaching in 2004. He has been in the Indians system since 2013, and is credited with the Indians’ turnaround under Terry Francona.
Over that span, they led MLB in both strikeouts some of the best efficiency in terms of pitches per inning.
Callaway was also under consideration for the Phillies, who have yet to make a decision on their next skipper. Names linked to that job include Chip Hale, Gary DiSarcina and Brad Ausmus, according to Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.
There are plenty of good and qualified candidates left for the Nats to consider, but the circumstances of Baker’s departure could affect the value of the job moving forward.