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Almost immediately after Dusty Baker was fired last season, the networks came knocking. ESPN was interested, he said, as was the MLB Network and the television home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baker had the same answer for all of them: not yet.

"It was too soon after the fallout," the three-time manager of the year said this week.

More than that, Baker, 64, still wants employment in the dugout, not the broadcast booth (http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_25137639/spring-training-dusty-baker-is-out-at-home).

After 20 years with the Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, Baker's managerial record stands at 1,671-1,504 (.526). His victory total ranks 16th all-time, one spot behind Jim Leyland and one spot ahead of Ralph Houk.

Will he get another shot?

"I really hope he gets another job. That shouldn't even be in question," said Tim Kurkjian, the ESPN analyst and longtime baseball writer.

Still, Kurkjian said, it's ominous for Baker that baseball managers are skewing younger. An increasing number of teams are looking for the new breed, a generation more open-minded to the power of sabermetrics and other analytics.


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Kurkjian said that the instant success of youngsters such as Mike Matheny in St. Louis and Robin Ventura with the Chicago White Sox has helped fuel a trend in which teams are more likely to take a chance on a young guy.

Chili Davis, the A's hitting coach and Baker's longtime friend, has also noticed the trend toward the fresh faces. "Leyland and Baker are like managers from a different era, but they're still successful in what they do," he said.

Davis, who was teammates with Baker on the 1984 Giants, understands as well as anyone the way numbers are re-shaping the game. He works for the organization that spawned "Moneyball."

But he said he has no doubt that Baker can keep pace. He said that Leyland got another job after a long layoff. "Hey, even Bobby Valentine got another opportunity, for crying out loud," Davis said with a laugh.

"So Dusty will find the right situation. It's more of a numbers-based game now, with sabermetrics and WAR, but those things didn't come about in the past year. Regardless of how things are classified or how much the game has evolved, you're not going to change the foundation of the game. ... Dusty's been able to deal with that. He's won every place he's been."

Baker's unquestioned strength had always been to bring out the best in his players, which is why it was jarring that Baker's downfall in Cincinnati was blamed on a lack of fire. On the day Baker was fired, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty wrote:

"We want to be inspired, pushed, challenged, driven. Choose your descriptive. Dusty's style might have allowed his players to play free and easy. It also encouraged a certain complacency. No one who witnessed this team's last week of games could come away thinking it really needed to win. Wanted to win? Of course. Needed it? Not really."

Daugherty also pointed to an August incident in which second baseman Brandon Phillips interrupted Baker's pregame chat with writers to berate an Enquirer reporter.

"Baker should have politely told Phillips to get the hell out of his office. Instead, he shrugged, smiled awkwardly and said it wasn't his fight. He looked foolish and powerless."

Jim Bowden, the former Reds general manager now with ESPN, is among those who think some time away -- and a change of scenery -- bode well for Baker's final chapter, wherever it is.

"Dusty will land on his feet again," he said. "We know how good a motivator he is ... There's a trend right now toward going with a younger guy, because they've seen what someone like Mike Matheny can do, but there will come a time when teams start looking again for a proven winner. Dusty Baker's track record speaks for itself."

Contact Daniel Brown at dbrown@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercBrownie.