With the Washington Nationals coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign, which saw them fail to make the postseason after winning the NL East in 2014, Dusty Baker, who signed a 2-year deal after Matt Williams was fired, was asked if he felt like he was in a must-win situation in the nation’s capital.
"I've been in a must-win situation all my life," Baker told reporters, after returning to the bench following two seasons out of the game.
"That's how I look at it. Other than one time out of twenty that I had more than a two-year contract, with San Francisco, the whole time I had two-year contracts. That's like I was at least in a must-win every other year. So it's like it's no big thing to me.
"People can apply pressure. I'm not going to apply pressure to myself. I don't think I must win. I think I'm going to win."
After the Nationals won the NL East again, for the third time in the last five seasons in 2016, and lost in the NLDS again, for the third time in five seasons, Baker’s bench coach, Chris Speier, was asked if they felt there was a sense of urgency to win in 2017?
“I don’t know about urgency,” Speier explained.
“I think when you look at an organization, you look at the pieces that you have in place, we’re in a really good spot. We really are.
“We have a lot of good players,” he said. “And you just want to take advantage of those situations when you have those players.”
Speier returned to Baker’s side, in part, he said last winter, to help his friend reach his goal of winning a World Series as a manager.
So will the 2017 campaign be Baker’s last opportunity to win a ring... in Washington, D.C.?
According to a report from Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo on Tuesday, the Nats are, “... willing to talk to Baker about extending his contract,” though, “... the two sides haven’t broached the topic yet... according to people with knowledge of the situation.”
As the WaPost writer notes in the article, Baker was asked what the future holds and how long he wants to manage last month at the Winter Meetings.
“I don't know, tell you the truth,” Baker said. “The way I look at it, between my family, my hunger, between, you know, the prayers that I send up looking for answers and looking for clues, it will come to me, you know?
“Some of it's in your control and some of it's out of your control. If it was in my control, I wouldn't have been out two years in the first place but you can't hire yourself.”
You can’t extend yourself either, but apparently the Nationals are willing to talk to the soon-to-turn 68-year-old skipper.