Nationals manager Dusty Baker is heading into the final year of his two-year contract, signed back in November 2015. The veteran skipper led the Nationals to a first-place finish at 95-67, though the club was defeated in five games in the NLDS by the Dodgers.
Baker’s future is uncertain, but MASN’s Pete Kerzel expects the Nationals to extend Baker’s contract by the time spring training begins in mid-February. He does not think the Nationals will allow Baker the option to walk away considering the success the team had in his first year at the helm.
As Kerzel notes, the Nationals don’t have any obvious in-house successors in the event Baker were to leave, which only makes it seem like a no-brainer to keep him around. The Nationals’ players, a mix of youth and veterans, seemed to enjoy playing for him.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.