Though he has proven to be excellent in turnaround situations (in San Francisco, Chicago and Cincinnati), Baker has applied for three jobs since the Reds fired him: Seattle, Washington and Detroit — three decidedly non-rebuilding situations. In all three cases, he didn’t receive so much as a callback.
Baker may deserve another chance, and he clearly wants back in. “I didn’t fire myself,” he said. “I didn’t retire. They wanted me to retire.”
Baker’s most recent chance at returning to the Major Leagues as manager was when Dave Stewart called him to give him the heads up that if he ended up getting the Arizona GM job, that he would be interested in hiring Baker as the manager. Stewart did get the job, but he did not hire Baker as the manager, instead hiring Chip Hale, a former D-Backs coach.
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It’s hard to know why Baker never received an interview, and it may very well have been something as simple as Arizona’s interest in a younger guy for what looks like a rebuilding job and had nothing to with a rough rivalry Baker had with D-Backs president Tony LaRussa when Baker was with the Cubs and then the Reds (“real bad blood” is what one person called it, referring to some harsh words back and forth after Baker was upset Reds stars Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips were passed over for All-Star selections by LaRussa one year).
Baker, 65, managed the Giants, Cubs and Reds from 1993 through 2013, won the NL Manager of the Year award three times, made an appearance in the 2002 World Series as Giants manager and has posted a .526 winning percentage in his two decades as a manager.