Baylor Looks For Opportunity In Philadelphia

The door had barely hit Larry Bowa in the butt when Don Baylor was on the phone to Philadelphia. Baylor let general manager Ed Wade know he was interested – very interested – in the Phillies manager's job. After all, it would be a good situation for a new manager. It's a club with a decent payroll and a lot of young stars to fill out a lineup card with.

As manager of the Cubs, Baylor was less than a hit. He failed in three seasons to get the Cubs to the playoffs and left Chicago with a 187-220 (.459) record. Actually, Baylor's record as a major league manager is somewhat less than stellar. In stops in Colorado and Chicago, Baylor is 560-594 (.485) as a manager. He led the Rockies to one playoff trip, losing to the Braves in the first round in 1995. After that, Baylor could push the Rockies no higher than third in the division.

Baylor's prospects of being the Phillies next manager are probably as good an almost anyone elses. Charlie Manuel is thought to be the front-runner, but the Phillies insist there is no such thing right now. One thing that may make Phillies fans – and hopefully, GM Ed Wade – weary of Baylor comes from Steve Holley, publisher of CubsTalk.com: "he (Baylor) had what I'd call an obsession with veteran players like Damon Buford instead of talent like Corey Patterson. It was really frustrating and at one point, Andy MacPhail even had to call him on it in the press by saying Patterson would be the starting center fielder heading into spring camp/opening day." Who does that sound like? Maybe a newly former manager of the Phillies?

"If the Phillies have a bunch of good prospects vying for positions next season, you may be wise looking elsewhere," warns Holley.

Larry Bowa's reluctance to use some young players like Chase Utley was one of the things that irritated fans the most and likely hurt the club. Had Utley been given a bigger role with the club, he may have provided a much needed spark at key points throughout the year. It sounds like Baylor has many of the same misgivings about prospects that Bowa had during his tenure in Philadelphia.

But wait, there's more.

"Baylor also had a tendency of benching a player after a great night," says Holley. "I recall certain non-everyday players recording 3-for-3 or 4-for-4 nights only to be benched for two or three straight days." Just ask Utley about that theory.

While Holley gives Baylor high points as a person, he's no Terry Francona. "the Mets still need someone to play the "bad cop" to Howe's "good cop". That is where Baylor fits into the equation," said writer Anthony R. Mastantuoni in an article on NYFansOnly.com when Art Howe revamped his coaching staff. (Read the full article.)

Baylor will be the first candidate to interview with the Phillies when he steps into Ed Wade's office Tuesday (October 12) morning. He certainly won't be the last. Charlie Manuel interviews on Wednesday, with Grady Little to follow on Thursday. Others will be added to the list.

With Baylor's past history of confidence in young players and his handling of them, the Phillies should likely take a pass on him. After all, it's not like Baylor has a long, winning history as a manager. If the Phillies need a hitting coach, Baylor would deserve somewhat of a look, especially after what he did with some members of the Mets this season. Richard Hidalgo especially, praised Baylor for the help that he gave him when he came over from Houston. Baylor served as Art Howe's bench coach and then served as interim hitting coach, replacing Denny Walling. Of course, having a managerial candidate sitting on the bench as a hitting coach could be somewhat of an awkward situation. If anyone could handle it though, the professional Baylor would be one that could.

Needless to say, the Phillies have a lot of work to do in hiring their new field general. Baylor is the first step in a long process that the Phillies admit may drag on well into the off-season.

Editor's note: PhillyBaseballNews.com would like to thank the publishers of CubsTalk.com and NYFansOnly.com for their help in writing this article.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories