Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston reports that the Astros have picked up the 2021 club option for manager Dusty Baker. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart adds that the 2021 options for third base coach Gary Pettis and pitching coach Brent Strom have also been picked up.
Baker, 71, was hired by the Astros in late January, replacing A.J. Hinch. Hinch was suspended by Major League Baseball for one year and subsequently fired by the Astros for his role in the club’s cheating scheme in 2017.
With managing experience spanning parts of 23 seasons with now five teams — the Giants, Cubs, Reds, Nationals, and Astros — from 1993-2020, Baker has a career record well above .500 at 1,866-1,637. Somehow, he has never won a World Series and has only won one pennant with the Giants in 2002. If the 2020 regular season and subsequent postseason can actually be played despite the pandemic, the Astros may give Baker his best shot to win it all.
Baker’s Astros are off to a 3-1 start to the 2020 season. They were expected to be the top contender in the American League along with the Yankees and Twins. Baker will have to lead the Astros to the promised land without ace Justin Verlander, who is sidelined for a bit due to a forearm strain.