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Why aren't Ozzie Guillen and Dusty Baker managing, really?

There's no conspiracy. The league has largely moved on from the days of Tommy Lasorda, Sparky Anderson, Tony LaRussa, and other larger than life managers.

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Last week, Bob Nightengale went to bat for Ozzie Guillen and Dusty Baker, two managers he greatly admires. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that, if they weren't hired this offseason, something nefarious must be afoot.

I will absolutely grant Nightengale that, indeed, Guillen's mouth got him run off of the Marlins job, and that his personality conflicts with Kenny Williams led to him leaving the White Sox. And I will grant that Dusty Baker suffered a stroke way back in 2012, after which he managed the Reds for another full season and won 90 games and the NL Wild Card.

For these past two years, they have been on the outside looking in.

Now, with a potential 11 managerial job openings this offseason, there's only one rational reason for every club to shun them:

If they are blackballed.

It's Guillen's mouth, his willingness to speak candidly rather than embrace the mundane, that could prevent him from managing.

It's Baker's health, suffering a mild stroke in 2012, that could frighten away teams.

The reasons are total cop-outs.

If they're not both each managing next year, there should be an investigation.

Last Friday, Matt Goldman pointed out that this is utterly ridiculous. Not only is it unlikely that 30 teams are colluding against Guillen and Baker for some unknown and unspecified reason, but it's irresponsible to levy that kind of nonsensical accusation.

But the more interesting issue than a once respected writer spinning conspiracy theories on behalf of guys he personally admires is what is actually keeping Guillen and Baker out of the game. Clearly, if Nightengale is going to the trouble of stumping for them, they have an interest in being back in the dugout. So why doesn't baseball want them back?

Well, for one thing, we have an abundant track record demonstrating Guillen and Baker's myriad faults. Guillen can't keep his damn mouth shut and, judging by his comments in Nightengale's story, still doesn't recognize that he is the problem. That's great if you're a writer, who wants interesting content for your game stories, but awful if you're a team that has to constantly douse whatever brushfires the manager starts.

Baker, as Matt pointed out earlier, has a history of bullpen mismanagement, as well as a long history of abusing the arms of young pitchers. Indeed, while it's not clear that he mismanaged Reds pitchers the way he drove Mark Prior and Kerry Wood into the ground in Chicago, it's alarming that Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, and Johnny Cueto have had arm injuries between 2013 and 2015. In a league that has become especially cognizant of protecting young arms, Baker is a relic.

Moreover, when we're talking about Baker and Guillen, we're also talking about a pair of managers who have exactly two pennants and one World Series between them in 29 seasons. Have they really accomplished all that much? Enough to suggest that there's some kind of malfeasance afoot if they can't find work this winter?

And that's even before we get into the most relevant reason that both Guillen and Baker don't have jobs: That they command respect from reporters and players, and will want the freedom to run their clubs in their own ways. Indeed, both have histories of clashing with their employers. Guillen first with Kenny Williams, and Baker later with Walt Jocketty.

From its beginning, baseball was ruled by larger than life managers. Connie Mack and John McGraw. Leo Durocher, Casey Stengel and Walt Alston. Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver and Tommy Lasorda. Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre. GMs like Branch Rickey and Larry MacPhail were the exception. Managers wielded incredible power, often rivaling those of the front office. Now, the front office is ascendant. The superstars are the Theo Epsteins and the Jed Hoyers. The Jeff Luhnows and the Andrew Friedmans and the John Mozeliaks. Meanwhile, guys like Mike Scioscia and Buck Showalter are still around, but few and far between. Both jobs have changed dramatically.

And as we saw with the Angels earlier this year, when Scioscia won his power struggle with Jerry DiPoto, these days no General Manager wants to work with an employee who won't follow instructions. Scioscia and Showalter (and perhaps Bruce Boche), are the last of their breed. It would be idiotic for any GM to invite the inevitable power struggle that would result in hiring an Ozzie or a Dusty. Indeed, the GM has to trust that the field manager will not just play the team the front office gives him, but will play the team the front office gives him the way that the front office tells him to. He also has to trust that his manager will not screw him on the long run.

The worst thing a GM can do today isn't hiring an ineffectual manager like Matt Williams or Ryne Sandberg. Those managers can be replaced. The worst thing that a GM can do is hire a manager who will receive the credit for his club's success, because that makes the GM seem less integral to the process than they really are.

So, no. Ozzie Guillen and Dusty Baker will not be hired this offseason. But it's not because baseball has it out for them. It's because hiring them, if their successful, is opening the door to a whole 'nuther can of worms that, quite frankly, today's GMs don't want to deal with and shouldn't have to given the relative importance of the general manager to that of the field manager.