When the Washington Nationals awaken from the dumpster-fire loss of Game 5 that ended their season in the wee hours of Friday, they should quickly look to 2018.
And find a new manager.
Dusty Baker’s contract expires so it’s not a firing. It’s instead looking for someone with answers because Baker didn’t have them in the NL Division Series loss to the Chicago Cubs. Sure, Baker didn’t make the myriad of stupid mistakes by players in the deciding game, but he never seemed to have a solution to them over the past week, either.
Credit Baker for staying with Michael A. Taylor until finally maturing with two home runs in the series, and I’ll counter with staying too long with Jayson Werth, Matt Wieters and Gio Gonzalez.
Debating whether to re-sign Baker could take longer than a playoff game. Every point merits a counterpoint. In the end, it’s another gridlock in Washington.
The bottom line is Baker won a lot of regular-season games and lost two first-round playoffs. Predecessor Matt Williams could have stayed and done that.
No, the Nats need some new blood because Baker is not the one to lead them to the World Series. They’ll still have Bryce Harper in 2018 and keeping Baker just wastes that final chance before possibly losing their franchise player.
Embrace the brutal truth – Baker has lost 10 straight closeout games in the postseason, an MLB record, so yet another elimination was nothing new. Sadly, neither was the Nats’ fourth division-round loss in six years.
Be bold – make a big move. Since General Manager Mike Rizzo is so good at acquiring players, let’s see if he can dig up a great prospect for the dugout, too.
Meanwhile, it’s back to Redskins season.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.