Friday, August 05, 2005

Dusty Talk Heats Up

Sometimes you wonder if columnists from competing papers write their columns sitting next to each other. Today's entries by Phil Rogers and Bruce Miles certainly make one think that way.

Rogers tells us what most of us have already known: The return of Nomar Garciaparra, Kerry Wood and Scott Williamson are not very likely to boost a team that has played .500 ball for just about every month of the last three years, September 2003 excluded.

He goes on to write that failure will be the beginning of the end for Dusty Baker. Rogers also notes that the leak of Baker's interest in the Dodgers' job fits with how Dusty came to the Cubs.

No matter how strongly Baker denied the Los Angeles Times' story that said he is eyeing a shot at the Dodgers' job, currently Jim Tracy's, you can't help but wonder. The same kind of whispers began in 2002 when he was angry with San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan.

In fact, I wrote that September that at least two of his close friends were telling associates he was headed to the Cubs. Baker and Hendry denied it, and where did he wind up after the Giants let the World Series slip away from them?

Bruce counters by disputing Rogers' potential destinations for Dusty, specifically Los Angeles.

Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta is a disciple of Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane and his "Moneyball" approach to baseball. That philosophy, originally espoused to help small-market teams compete, stresses the importance of on-base percentage as the key offensive statistic. ... Baker is more of an old-school guy, one who prefers his hitters to be aggressive at the plate. So Baker and the Dodgers don't appear to be a good fit.

Both columns have merrits. What Miles leaves out is that DePodesta is in hot water in Los Angeles. He may not survive the calendar year in the Dodgers' employ.

If DePosdesta goes, Dusty becomes a strong possibility for that managerial position.

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