WASHINGTON — When a surprise move takes a long time to happen, the fallout can go on forever. That seems likely to happen with the Nationals’ decision to move on from manager Dusty Baker.
“I want nothing to do with the managerial process. If I’m involved in managerial decisions, that would interfere and conflict with my commitment to the players,” Boras told Heyman. “I represent players. It would be totally against my interest. I would never do that. I refuse to represent managers because I have players on the team.
“I don’t want to recommend a manager, and then have Bryce Harper come to me two years later and say, ‘How could you have picked this guy?'”
That’s a predictable denial, but it’s undermined by his transparently faulty logic. Boras represents more than 100 professional baseball players, including seven Nationals, and a number of his clients compete for playing time. His clients negotiate against one another.
His career and legend are built on conflicts of interest. That doesn’t mean that it happened in this instance, but there’s also no reason to believe that his hands are clean.
Perhaps of greater consequence than whodunnit is coming to terms with it. Apparently, some Nationals players are taking this harder than others, perhaps sewing the seeds of discord heading into Harper’s contract year:
Nats players are said by sources to be generally upset, unhappy that Baker got fired, but even more unhappy at the continuing upheaval and uncertainty around the team, and the perception that creates.
This is never a good situation to be in. The Nats are unlikely to make major changes to the roster this offseason, so the players who are unhappy today could still feel the same when they report in February.
If nothing else, this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the ownership and front office to make an obvious upgrade at manager this offseason. Either way, there’s more to come on this story as we still have yet to hear the story from Baker’s camp.