Dusty Baker secures Houston Astros contract for 2022 | Major League Baseball

HOUSTON (AP) – Dusty Baker will return as manager of the Houston Astros for a third season after accepting a one-year contract with the AL champions.

Baker succeeded AJ Hinch, who was suspended by the MLB for his role in stealing the team’s signs and then fired. The Astros lost to Tampa Bay in the 2020 AL Championship Series and to Atlanta in all six of this year’s World Series games.

“We have an exciting future here – and now,” Baker said on Friday. “I just had some unfinished business to take care of, but we’re close. We get better every year.

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Baker, 72, has never won a World Series title as a manager. He has 1,987 victories in the regular season as a manager.

Baker said he enjoyed his time in Houston, even adjusting to the team’s emphasis on analysis.

“I was talking to some of our sabermetry guys and I said, ‘Hey, I guess you can teach an old dog some new tricks,’ and they said, ‘It depends on the dog,’ Baker said with a smile. “It was a compliment, I guess.”

Owner Jim Crane has said he expects the team’s payroll to be close to the luxury tax level and possibly above. Negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players’ association are underway to establish rules after December 1.

“If we have to take a step to compete and conclude something, we’ve always done that,” Crane said. “We have the resources because we have great support from the city. Our goal is to win championships and put the best possible team on the pitch. “

Shortstop Carlos Correa became a free agent on Wednesday.

“I hope we can do something,” Crane said.

“Carlos Correa has played an important role in this organization, and we will do our best to try to ensure that this continues,” said general manager James Click. “But the nature of free agency is that there are 30 teams there, and Carlos is going to make the best decision for him and his family. We obviously hope it’s Houston, and we’re going to do our best. , but we have to be responsible for the team and make sure we put a winning team there.

Click said he hopes Baker’s coaching staff will return, with the exception of pitching coach Brent Strom, who is retiring after eight seasons.

“We talked about this earlier in the last year, but I urged him to put all of his effort into this year and not think about the end before the end,” Baker said.

Baker said he believes assistant pitching coaches Bill Murphy and Josh Miller are ready to take the next steps in their careers and may be the prime candidates to replace Strom.

Other key Houston free agents include Justin Verlander, who has pitched just one game in the past two seasons due to injury, and Zack Greinke.

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