Dusty Baker and the Reds have agreed to a two-year contract, the team announced this afternoon.
Baker’s deal expired once the Reds were knocked out of the playoffs by the Giants last week. He’s been Cincinnati’s manager since 2008, during which time the Reds are 419-391 (.517) and have made the playoff twice, losing in the NLDS both times.
This season Baker led the Reds to a 97-65 record that was second-best in the NL behind the Nationals and the best in team history since the back-to-back World Series winners in 1975 and 1976 won 108 and 102 games.
Baker missed some time down the stretch after suffering a mini-stroke, but the 63-year-old made it clear that he planned to continue managing.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.