Dusty Baker told reporters during the press conference introducing the veteran skipper as the Washington Nationals' new manager last week that though he reached out through his agent to let the Nats know he was interested in their managerial opening in 2013, he didn't really want the job at that point.
"I really didn't want the job," the 66-year-old Baker explained, "but I wanted to let people know that I was still interested in being in baseball.
"The reason I didn't want the job is because Matt Williams had already talked to me about different things and Matt was one of my prized pupils when I was a batting coach and the manager.
"I was glad that they didn't offer me the job because I didn't want to cut Matt out. The main reason I contacted the Nationals was just to show people that I was not retired."
Two years later, after Williams was relieved of his duties on the bench in the nation's capital, Baker pursued the job in D.C. and ended up getting it.
Williams played under Baker for four seasons in San Francisco from 1993-1996 after the manager had served as the Giants' first base coach (1988) and hitting coach (1989-1992) as Williams, the 3rd overall pick in 1986, played the first years of his career in San Francisco from 1987 to 1996.
Baker told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies last week that he did reach out to Williams to let him know he was interested in the job with the Nationals this time, though he was more focused on how the now-former Nats' skipper was feeling.
"I was really sort of trying to ease his pain, sort of," Baker said of the conversation they had as he was going through the interview process with the Nats.
"Because I know -- especially your first firing man -- you feel like you're the scorn of the earth, like you failed. So I was more worried about how he was handling, you know, the firing. And I know Matt. He's tough, but he's also a person, with sensitivities and emotions and feelings, and so, that was the main thing, and I kind of wanted his graces before I started talking to the Nationals."
He also said that he urged Williams to get right back in the game.
"Yeah, and I urged him to do that. I said, 'Hey, you might not be managing right away, but you need to get back into baseball and we talked about it the other day before I came here."
According to reports this afternoon, Williams did just that, agreeing to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the third base coach, the job he held before he became the Nationals' fifth full-time manager in 2013.
Matt Williams has accepted the 3B coaching job with the Arizona Diamondbacks.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) November 10, 2015