By Sam Bush
Ex-Nats manager Dusty Baker isn’t sure if he’d like to manage the Houston Astros beyond the upcoming season.
“Maybe,” he said. “Depends how I feel. Depends on how the team feels about me. … You never know what changes are going to come about in life.”
At 71, Baker is entering the last year of his contract with the Astros. He was hired in January to replace AJ Hinch, who was fired by the team after he and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one year by Major League Baseball for their roles in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Luhnow also was fired.
The Astros picked up the option on Baker’s contract for the 2021 season in June, and Baker helped the team to the American League Championship Series in the pandemic-shortened season.
After going 29-31 in the regular season, the Astros came within one game of reaching the World Series.
Last season was Baker’s 23rd as a manager, after he started in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants. A three-time National League Manager of the Year, Baker came to the Astros after managing the Nationals, who let him go after a 97-65 season in 2017.
Baker is no longer the oldest manager in the majors. The 76-year-old Tony La Russa was hired to manage the Chicago White Sox this offseason.
Baker said he enjoyed his first year in Houston and that he is looking forward to the possibility of experiencing the ballpark with fans and managing the Astros under more normal circumstances next year.
“I’m hoping that I get to enjoy the Houston that I’ve come to love from the past,” he said.