MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats expected to interview Baker, Gardenhire

Nats expected to interview Baker, Gardenhire

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are expected to interview Dusty Baker and Ron Gardenhire for the managerial opening, according to two baseball sources. The job became available after Matt Williams was relieved of his duties last week.

Baker, who is currently an analyst for TBS during the postseason, could interview for the position as early as Wednesday. Gardenhire could interview sometime next week. Both Baker and Gardenhire have a wealth of managerial experience, which is something the team wants.

According to a person familiar with Baker, he wants to win that World Series ring that has eluded him over the years. The closest he has came was in 2002, when he was the manager of the Giants, who lost in seven games to the Angels.

If he were to manage the Nationals, Baker would not have to deal with a rebuilding phase. General manager Mike Rizzo let it be known last week that the Nationals are looking to win a title in 2016.

Baker has 20 years of managing experience in the Major Leagues, has won Manager of the Year three times and has guided every team he has managed (Giants, Cubs, Reds) into the postseason. The last time Baker managed was in 2013, when the Reds lost to the Pirates in the Wild Card game.

Baker is also known as one of the better players in the Major Leagues during the 1970s and early '80s. His best years occurred with the Dodgers from 1976 to 1983.

Gardenhire is considered one of the better managers in Twins history, as he guided them to the postseason six times. The team made it as far as the American League Championship Series in 2002, but lost to the Angels.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 years and has a 1068-1039 record. The Twins won at least 90 games five times. He last managed the Twins in 2014.

One of Gardenhire's mentors was Davey Johnson, who managed the Nationals from 2011 to 2013. According to the Orlando Sentinel, it was Johnson who helped Gardenhire get back to the big leagues as a player in the early 1980s. Gardenhire would follow in Johnson's footsteps and became a quality manager in his own right.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.