After winning 95+ games two years in a row, not to mention a pair of division titles, the Washington Nationals fired Dusty Baker last week. Baker, 68, was apparently guilty of not winning a World Series – or for losing Game 5 of the NLDS two years in a row.
Jim Leyland doesn’t get it.
“Well, I will say this: It is very difficult for me to understand,” the former MLB manager said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I’m not going to stick my nose in anybody else’s business, but it is difficult for me to understand when a manager wins 95, 97 games and two division titles in a row, it’s hard for me to understand that he doesn’t have a job.”
Leyland, 72, led the Marlins to a World Series title in 1997. He was a three-time Manager of the year – twice in Pittsburgh and once in Detroit. He knows a thing or two about baseball and being a manager.
Asked if the Nationals’ track record with managers – they’ve had six since 2006 – would deter him from working for them, Leyland said, “I don’t know.”
“I don’t stick my nose in other people’s business,” he said. “I don’t really know why that’s happened. It is a fact. This is not a criticism of anybody, but it is a fact that they’ve had several managers in not too long a period of time. So I don’t really know why that is, and it’s really none of my business.”
Leyland retired from managing after the 2013 season and was replaced by Brad Ausmus, who went 314-332 in four years in Detroit before getting fired at the end of the season. He was replaced by Ron Gardenhire.
“Well, I think Ron Gardenhire is a terrific manager, there’s no question about that,” Leyland said. “He’s another guy that’s got great people skills, he’s seen it all, he’s had good teams where he won, (and) he’s had the rebuilding teams where your . . . personal record is going to suffer. But this guy, I always thought he was one of the top managers, without question. I think he’s going to be a perfect fit in Detroit. He’s a blue-collar guy. I think the fans are really going to take to him, and I think he’ll do a great job. I thought it was an excellent hire.”