Dusty Baker thinks baseball is going backwards in diversity

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Dusty Baker was one of two finalists for the Nationals’ open managerial position, but lost out to Bud Black. If he were hired, Baker would have been the only African American manager in baseball and only the second non-white manager along with Fredi Gonzalez.

Baseball’s lack of diversity in its coaching staffs and front offices has been a topic of conversation in recent times, and Baker is among those who feels the sport isn’t doing enough. Baker, who has 20 years of managing experience, said baseball is going “backwards”. Via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Beyond the fact the percentage of African American players has dipped from 27 in 1975 to below 10, African American managers are nowhere to be found. In 2002, there were eight. Now there are none.

“If that’s not backwards, I don’t know how much more backwards we can go,” Baker said.

When I asked him afterward about the subject, he said, “You wonder if it’s an accident or by design.”

The list of African American managers is rather short. While front offices aren’t consciously passing over black manager candidates specifically due to race, the structure of the sport creates an unlevel playing field for those who aren’t white. According to that list, there have been 27 managers since the game was integrated in 1947, an average of one African-American manager for every 2.5 seasons.

Shea notes that 38 percent of baseball’s players are black or Latino. Specifically, eight percent of baseball players were black in 2014 and that percentage was as high as 27 percent in 1975. The odds that an 8-27 percent player base would yield only a three percent manager base over multiple seasons is rather low. Baseball absolutely has a diversity problem and Baker is rightly pointing that out.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.