4.) Can Dusty Baker handle the clubhouse?
Perhaps the question could be phrased in a different way. Can Dusty Baker handle Bryce Harper? Baker has a reputation for being one of the best managers in the league when it comes to connecting with players. Baker is now 66 years old, but it does not feel that way. Harper clashed with the decidedly Old School Matt Williams. Though Baker is Old School in many ways, especially in his views of advanced metrics and pitch counts, he is able to connect with younger players.
It’s up to Baker to start developing Harper into the leader of the clubhouse. Harper has been more comfortable allowing veterans like Zimmerman lead the team. It’s time for him to step up. No more popping off to the media over clubhouse issues best addressed internally. Next season will be Harper’s fifth in the league. Washington’s clubhouse needs to be Harper’s clubhouse. No more antics. Dusty Baker is one of the few managers perfectly-suited to balance a need to transition Harper into a leadership role without stepping on the toes of the over-30 crowd in the clubhouse.