Baker has managed in the majors for 20 years, with his last stint ending in 2013 with the Cincinnati Reds. His career managerial record is 1671-1504 (.526) in time with the Reds, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants. He has won one National League pennant in his career.
Baker, 66, takes over for Matt Williams, who didn’t live up to expectations with the Nationals in 2015 with an 83-79 record. Williams won the NL East along with manager of the year in 2014, but his lack of experience caught up to him and he was fired after the disappointing 2015 season ended.
“We were looking for a manager to help us achieve our ultimate goal of competing for a World Series championship,” owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. “During our broad search process we met with many qualified candidates, and ultimately it was clear that Dusty’s deep experience was the best fit for our ballclub.”
Baker’s 1,761 wins ranks 16th on the all-time list and third among active managers. He has only managed in the National League in his career and, along with Bobby Cox, is one of two managers to have won the NL Manager of the Year award three times.
“I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “… Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach, and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor.”
Baker, who is African American, becomes just the second minority manager in baseball, along with Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves.
Reportedly, the final two candidates for the job were Black and Baker. It is reported that Black rejected an offer for two years that was less than $2 million and prompted the hire of Baker.
Baker comes into this job with a team that is built to compete, and it will be interesting to see this team in 2016 with players like Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper, who are cornerstones of this organization.