Houston Astros hire Dusty Baker as new manager after a scam scandal

Houston Astros hire Dusty Baker as new manager after a scam scandal

The 70-year-old became the oldest manager in the big leagues.

With tremendous scrutiny on the Astros in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal that cost Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow their jobs (and a year suspended from baseball), owner Jim Crane needed to make a careful choice in replacing both highly successful, though now tainted, members of his organization.

The former Washington Nationals manager takes over for A.J. Hinch, who was released earlier this month after Major League Baseball found that the Astros had illegally developed a system that decrypted and communicated the pitching signs of the opposing teams during their 2017 championship season.

Now he's getting one last chance with the Astros. "This is a great ballclub with outstanding players that know how to win", Baker said.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to the Astros' spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., in two weeks.

The team announced the hiring on Wednesday and said Baker will be introduced in Houston on Thursday. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets. Baker has 22 years of managerial experience, starting in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants. He guided the San Francisco Giants to the National League pennant in 2002.

If Baker were to take the Astros to the postseason in 2020, he would become the first manager in Major League Baseball history to lead five different teams to the playoffs. Nobody has ever taken five teams to the playoffs. During his time off, he assumed a fan's perspective - even rooting for the Astros to beat his most-recent club in the 2019 World Series.

As a bonus, Baker will get to manage the American League All-Star team, an honor that would have been Hinch's. He began his career with the Atlanta Braves and played for the Dodgers, Oakland Athletics and the Giants. He was selected MVP of the 1977 NL Championship Series and won a Gold Glove in 1981, when he helped the Dodgers to a World Series title.

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