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Dusty on the Hot Seat?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 6, 2006 4:48PM

2006_03_sports_dusty_baker.jpgSo is Dusty Baker on the hot seat or not? Recently, comments from Cubs GM Jim Hendry made it sounds like the Cubs skipper might not be returning from the All Star Break.

I'm evaluating everything. When you're having this kind of a year … I'm evaluating all situations. When you're 20-plus games below .500 … I'll spend a lot of time over the break [evaluating], not just the way the [coaching] situation is, but also with your own players.

The sports media was already placing odds on whom among candidates like Lou Piniella, Tom Kelly, Jimy Williams and Gene Lamont, would get the nod from Hendry.

Then, yesterday Baker and Hendry met to discuss the situation
. Following the meeting, Baker said he wasn't worried about his fate, "I expect to be here. Why not? I ain't walking death row." Hendry didn't exactly back off his earlier comment, simply suggesting his decision might not come as soon as the All Star Break. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Dusty.

So will Baker remain with the Cubs much longer? The situation almost becomes a catch-22. Because there's so much speculation, he's losing credibility among the fans and his players. As he looses that, he's no longer able to control his team. Chicagoist believe it's only a matter of time before Dusty's send packing. Hendry can use the opportunity to try out some up-and-coming managerial talent within their minor league system. Or maybe name Greg Maddux as player-manager. If those choices don't work out, there'll be a larger selection of available managers in the off-season.