The Houston Astros aren't wasting any time when it comes to finding their replacement for former manager A.J. Hinch, who was ousted in the wake of the team's sign-stealing scandal last Monday. After the club was reportedly connected to former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and former Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter for the position, another name emerged Friday. 

Former Tigers and Angels manager and former Astros catcher Brad Ausmus is now a candidate for the job, Brian McTaggart of reports. Ausmus, 50, spent 10 of his 18 seasons as a player in Houston uniform. He also managed the Tigers for four seasons and led them to a division title in 2014. Ausmus managed the Angels in 2019 and guided them to a disappointing 72-90 record before being let go in favor of Joe Maddon. Across five seasons as a major league manager, Ausmus has a record of 386-422 (.478). 

Former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker was also set to meet with the club earlier in the week to discuss their managerial vacancy, according to McTaggart.

Astros owner Jim Crane announced the firings of Hinch along with general manager Jeff Luhlow following the completion of Major League Baseball's investigation and punishment toward the Astros for their high-tech sign-stealing scandal. With less than a month until spring training begins, the clock is ticking for the Astros to find Hinch's permanent replacement.

Baker, 70, spent time as a manager for the San Francisco Giants (1993-2002), Chicago Cubs (2003-2006) and Cincinnati Reds (2008-2013) before joining the Nationals for a two-year stint for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The three-time NL Manager of the Year (1993, 1997, 2000) won an NL pennant with the Giants in 2002 and has nine total playoff appearances.

"I'm just hoping to bring some love back to baseball, some integrity to the game, and I think I got relative respect in the game," Baker told McTaggart. "There's something missing. I need a [World Series] championship, and I'd like to bring a championship to the city of Houston."

The Astros and Red Sox are searching for new managers less than a month before spring training as Alex Cora was also let go for their roles in Houston's scandal.

With the Cubs, Baker led the team to its first division title in 14 years, and with the Reds, he led the club to their playoff appearance in 15 years. During his time with Washington, Baker led the Nats to an NL East title before losing to the Dodgers in the NLDS. The following season, the Nats took home the NL East title again before losing to the Cubs in the NLDS. Overall, Baker has a managerial record of 1,863-1,636 (.536) and a 23-32 postseason record.

Some of the other reported candidates for the Astros job include ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez and current Astros bench coach Joe Espada. Perez is interviewing for the position on Tuesday, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. Perez played in the big leagues for 13 seasons and has experience managing in the World Baseball Classic and in the Puerto Rican winter league, but he has never managed for a MLB club. Perez was also the Astros bench coach during the 2013 season. He was a serious candidate for the Mets manager job after the club dismissed Mickey Callaway last offseason.

Espada, meanwhile, has already been interviewed by the club, reports MLB Network's Jon HeymanEspada, 44, has spent the past two seasons with the Astros after previously serving on Joe Girardi's staff with the New York Yankees. He was a legitimate candidate for the Giants and Cubs jobs earlier this offseason.

Cubs third-base coach Will Venable, former Rangers manager Jeff Banister and Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibanez are also reportedly in the mix for the position. Bruce Bochy's name was also mentioned, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports that the longtime Giants skipper does not plan to pursue any of the available managing jobs this winter. Bochy retired following the 2019 season.