The Astros on Tuesday announced that they've exercised their contract option on manager Dusty Baker for the 2021 season. As well, the club has also opted to bring back third base coach Gary Pettis and pitching coach Brent Strom.
"Dusty has been a perfect fit for our ballclub," GM James Click said in a statement released by the team. "His knowledge of the game and experience have been invaluable to us in his first few months with the club. We're excited to see him in an Astros uniform again next year."
Baker, 71, has prior to Tuesday's slate guided the Astros to a 3-1 record in his first season in Houston. This is Baker's 23rd season as a major league manager. Over that span, he's compiled 1,866 wins, which is tops among active managers and ranks 15th on the all-time list. He's also guided four different teams -- the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals -- to the postseason. He won a pennant in 2002 as manager of the Giants and overall has seven division titles and nine playoff appearances to his credit. The Astros are very much in win-now mode, and a World Series title either this season or next -- a viable possibility in each instance -- would likely ensure that Baker one day makes the Hall of Fame.
Baker was hired as Astros manager after his predecessor, A.J. Hinch, was dismissed as a result of the sign-stealing scandal that dominated baseball headlines prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. In addition to his lengthy record of success with multiple teams, Baker is a highly credible figure in baseball with a calm and steady hand in his relations with players. In that sense, he was the reputable and stabilizing influence that the Astros and their tarnished reputation needed. Given his well suited merits, Baker's retention, even this early into his Houston tenure, isn't surprising.