One of baseball's best writers (along with Grant Brisbee and Patrick) ponders the idea that Dusty Baker is chronically underrated. Worth a read. Some of the best points:
"[Dusty's record of taking bad/struggling teams and making them excellent] suggests that Dusty Baker is either one lucky son of a gun … or he might have some ability to manage baseball teams to winning seasons"
Posnanski acknowledges that he, like pretty much everyone else, has fun criticizing some of Baker's moves, saying "[o]h, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE talking about it, LOVE writing about it, LOVE pointing out when managers do illogical things. That’s a big part of the baseball fun. ... And, yes, Dusty Baker’s strategies have been a wonderful inspiration to my writing career." But Pos also says that, for a manager, "the job is to endure moops like me telling you every day that you should never have intentionally walked that guy or bunted that guy or pulled that pitcher — even though that was probably the 12th most important thing you did that day."
Pos lays out some of the more important things that a manager has to do, things that can't be quantified, and yet things that seem to be things at which Baker excels:
"But the job is to guide a baseball team through a long season, to keep players focused on the work at hand, to minimize distractions and ease tensions and keep things consistent without letting it get monotonous. The job is to to let your stars be stars without letting that offend and irritate everybody else. The job is to keep it loose but not too loose, make it fun but not so players lose focus, to make everyone feel like you trust them without making them feel like there are no consequences for failure. The job is to make young players feel old, and old players feel young, to make pinch-hitters feel important and cleanup hitters to feel like they don’t have the weight of the world on their backs, to make starters and relievers feel like they have your complete confidence without letting them blow too many games (something that has been REALLY had in Washington this year)."