As has been discussed many times on Locked On Astros, the Astros will have a difficult season in 2020. Talent-wise, they will still have a team that should compete for the World Series again. But they will be constantly exposed to constant questions surrounding the Astros getting caught using technology to steal signs. They will have to answer to fans, media, and other players for what happened in 2017. Mostly, to the players who they cheated against.
They needed someone who could come in as an outsider to deflect some of those questions. They needed someone who has dealt with controversy before. Most importantly, they needed someone experienced to come in and continue the Astros success in 2020 and beyond.
They needed Dusty Baker, and that’s who they were rumored to be going with yesterday. While Bob Nightengale said it was a done deal, others like Ken Rosenthal said that the two sides are discussing a deal. Jon Heyman had said the Astros have not contacted Baker. In my opinion, it was probably over Baker wanting a three-four year deal, the Astros may only want to give him a two-year deal. Well, if that was the case, Baker settled for a short-term deal to be the manager according to Nightengale.
The Houston #Astros and Dusty Baker have reached agreement on a short-term deal to become their new manager— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 29, 2020
Baker was the longtime coach with the Giants, spent time with the Cubs, Reds, and Nationals. He has a career 1,863–1,636 record and has led teams to the postseason many times. His success in the postseason has not always been great, but he seems passionate to get the Astros to the postseason in 2020. In his last four years with the Reds then Nationals, his teams made the playoffs.
Baker wants to be the first African-American coach in the Hall of Fame. If he would lead the 2020 or 2021 Astros to the playoffs, it would help his cause to be the first. He’s after that ring, which may be why he’s coming back after being out for two years.
Many will scoff at his age (70), but that is what the Astros need right now to settle this talented roster down. Baker is also very much an ‘old school’ manager, but that is where Joe Espada fits in. Espada knows the players and can help Baker get to know the players that like to dance in the clubhouse. Espada can also help Baker with the, cough, analytics.
Baker has dealt with the BALCO fallout with Barry Bonds, his own IRS issues, and many other issues. We will look more into what Baker can offer over the next few weeks at the Crawfish Boxes. He is not AJ Hinch, nor should he try to emulate his managing style. Baker and his 22 years of managing experience will help the Astros ride out the storm that will be 2020.
Baker will be the Astros manager for the next two years. What do you think Astros fans?
Update 4:14 pm CST: Baker’s contract is for 1 year with a club option for a 2nd, not 2 as originally reported.
Now hearing Baker deal with #Astros might be one year with an option, not two years I reported earlier. Working to get this straight.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2020