HOUSTON (KXAN) — The Houston Astros have hired Dusty Baker as the club’s new manager, Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane announced Wednesday.
Bob Nightengale from USA Today was first to report on Tuesday that Baker and the Astros were close to an agreement. The 70-year-old Baker will become the oldest manager in the big leagues.
The Astros will introduce Baker as their 19th manager in franchise history at a press conference on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.
Baker most recently managed the Washington Nationals, but has worked with four clubs during a 22-year career. He can claim one National League pennant on his resume’ with the 2002 San Francisco Giants. The Giants lost in the World Series to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In 22 seasons, Baker has compiled 14 winning seasons as a manager with three NL Manager of the Year award.
Baker enters the Astros clubhouse in its most unstable position following the scandal and consequences of the sign-stealing investigation. Astros owner Jim Crane fired manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the team’s use of electronics to steal signs in 2017.
Houston was fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, as punishment. The Astros will also forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.
On the field, the Astros are in the best period of baseball that franchise has ever experienced with two American League pennants in the last three years along with the World Series title in 2017. Houston finished a combined 204-120 during ’17 and ’18 — the best mark in the major leagues. The Nationals defeated Houston in the 2019 World Series in seven games.
Baker will be tasked with guiding an elite roster to more postseason success.
A majority of adult Americans believe Astros players should have been punished for their connection into MLB’s sign-stealing scandal, according to an ESPN survey published several weeks ago.
Former Astros pitcher Dallas Kuechel, now with the Chicago White Sox, became the first Astros player to publicly apologize for the scheme during a fan fest event over the weekend.