Dusty Baker
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Report: Phillies to interview Dusty Baker for managerial position

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Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that former MLB skipper and current Giants advisor Dusty Baker is slated to interview for the Phillies’ managerial opening.

The Phillies parted ways with manager Gabe Kapler last week after the team finished the 2019 season with an 81-81 record, good for second-to-last place in the NL East division. Unsurprisingly, the organization is seeking a skipper that can help shepherd the team through a winning season and a playoff run; as GM Matt Klentak told reporters on Friday, “We’re looking for someone who’s going to appreciate the staff we have and the things that we do, and come in and take us over the finish line because that’s what this is really about. This is about wins and losses and getting us where we want to be — and that’s playing in October, competing for a championship.”

Baker, 70, certainly has the experience for the job, albeit not as much postseason success as the Phillies would like. He served four separate stints with the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals from 1993 to 2017, amassing a lifetime 1863-1636 record, 14 winning seasons, and seven division titles. He also oversaw nine separate postseason campaigns, though his questionable managerial decisions factored into a number of significant losses along the way.

While the Phillies haven’t explicitly targeted any other potential candidates, it’s assumed that they’ll interview other well-traveled managers like Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi, and John Farrell, as well a number of internal candidates. The Giants, meanwhile, not only gave the Phillies permission to speak with Baker, but are said to be talking to a familiar name themselves:

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).