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A revealing column in the Trib today by Paul Sullivan on the future of Dusty Baker. Baker has softened some of his defiance in recent days, and even stunned me with his declaration that he "always wanted a team of young players".

It's natural for someone in a state of flux to be emotional. Baker has certainly been that and pensive about his stay here and beyond.

"You always want to be where you're wanted."

And has he felt that?

Baker paused before answering. "Sometimes," he said. "But I guess that's better than not at all."

Told Sunday the comment had left the impression the Cubs had not made him feel wanted, Baker stood by his cryptic answer.

"That's how you feel—'sometimes,'" he said. "That was the best answer I could come up with at the time. You put yourself in my position. What would your answer be?"

Hendry said last month he would decide on Baker at the end of the season. Has Hendry said anything since then to make Baker think the Cubs did not want him?"

No, it's not only Jim," Baker said. "It's the whole picture, the whole thing."

By the whole thing, does he mean the city of Chicago?"

Yeah, just [the whole thing], period," he said. "Sometimes. I'm not the overwhelming favorite. You hear about who's available, who's going to take the job. That leads to [the answer] 'sometimes.'"

Media have speculated about who would replace Baker if he leaves. Names from Joe Girardi to Bruce Bochy to Bob Brenly to Fredi Gonzalez have surfaced in the last month, though Girardi is under contract with Florida through 2008 and Bochy with San Diego through 2007.

Presumably, none of the speculation has come from conversations with Baker's boss.

"No, but my boss said he'll wait until the end," Baker said. "That's why I said 'sometimes.'"

My question is this: What strong points, traits or successes do you point to in favor of rehiring Baker?

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1 comment:

Mike O'Donnell said...

I can't find any.

There was the whole "works very well in keeping the clubhouse balanced with a megastar in the mix" but that's over and done. The players the Cubs have now are much more balanced on an individual basis and they have the potential to be a great "team." What I mean by that is that there are 6-7 guys that have the potential to produce togehter instead of a 3-4 punch in the lineup and whatever else they get, great. There is not one particular person who has the megastar attitude. D-Lee certainly has the tools and the drive, but he is a team player 100%. The Cubs need a manager that is balanced and one that can push the right buttons at the right time, and push the team at the right time. Good managers are the ones who have the right mix of motivation/discipline/order and a "let them just go out and play" attitude. Baker has made a career out of getting lucky and having a big bat and a big arm to bail him out when he doesn't.
A Jim Leyland type is what the Cubs need, or maybe a Bochy or dare I say it, Sweet Lou Pinella.
Brenly would be a disaster after a year or two. He's too much of an ego-centric manager.