How many wins is Dusty Baker worth? How many wins is Mike Maddux worth? There is absolutely no way of really knowing a WAR value for a manager or a coach. Some have tried to quantify a manager’s WAR, and most have failed because when they apply the formula to all managers it doesn’t make sense applying one formula to all. Some say the baseball pythagorean is the way to evaluate a manager and others say it is the W/L record in 1 run games and extra inning games that will tell you a manager’s value.
A coach should put their players in the best position to succeed and add value to their team. There are also those times where the baseball manager makes a good decision that goes awry because the player does not execute, and the opposite is true where the baseball manager makes a bad decision that goes well because the player does execute.
Players make their managers look good, bad and ugly—they also get managers fired. Dusty has been fired from 3 jobs, and says “you’re hired to be fired.” The strange thing about Dusty was that he got fired after taking the 2002 San Francisco Giants team to the World Series, and in 2013, Dusty took the Reds to the post-season and got fired. Usually you don’t see a manager let go after a playoff run, but look no further than Davey Johnson who made it to the ALCS in 1997 and claims he was fired, and last year Mattingly parted ways with the Dodgers. Go figure.
Try to think of another manager and coaching staff who have coached up their players as much as we hear about this staff. The pitchers talk about Maddux, the runners speak of Lopes, the batters speak of the triumvirate of Schu, Jacque Jones and Dusty. Then you have a leadership of fellow players who help each other as a culture now exists to promote this exchange between players.
The Nats and Dusty are in the honeymoon period now and will move to the newlywed period on April 4th, and as we graphically showed, Dusty’s newlywed seasons with his new teams show improvement over the prior year.
Dusty credits many people for his managerial success and speaks often of the influence of football coach Bill Walsh. Dusty does not shy away from his desire to win a World Series as a manager and get enshrined in the baseball Hall of Fame.
Analysts look to the value of a manager’s in-game strategy and decisions, and with Dusty and his coaching staff we must give value to the preparation of his players.
Coaching up players is another of baseball’s intangibles, and while we cannot give a formula or a value to it, we are seeing it, hearing about it, and reading about it.