Former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is in Houston to interview for the Astros’ managerial job opening.
Baker told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday that he had not yet been contacted regarding the Astros’ opening. But sometime over the weekend, the team added him to their list. It was confirmed when he landed in Houston on Sunday night and spoke to reporters.
“They got a good team,” said Baker, 70. “They’ve always had a good team and I’ve enjoyed watching them to play and it would be a privilege and an honor to be the manager of this team.”
The Astros are searching for a manager with a month to go until spring training because they released A.J. Hinch, as well as general manager Jeff Luhnow, last Monday following a one-year suspension MLB handed down for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.
The Nationals hired Dave Martinez to substitute Baker, and in his second year Martinez took them to their first World Series — defeating the Astros in seven games.
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The Nationals and Astros share a spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and they’re scheduled to open their spring training schedules against each other on Feb. 22.
In 22 campaigns, Baker has a 1,863-1,636 record that includes a National League pennant with the San Francisco Giants in 2002.
The Astros have already interviewed former managers Buck Showalter and John Gibbons and current Cubs third-base coach Will Venable.
Astros owner Jim Crane expects to sign a new manager by Feb. 3.
“I’m full of emotion,” Baker said. “I’ve got a lot of roots here. My best friend, Ralph Garr, lives here, a couple of players live here, my family used to live here, my former wife and all her relatives live here. I’ve been coming to Houston for a long, long time. I’ve always liked it.”
Baker, a three-time NL Manager of the Year, said he was excited about the opportunity to perhaps manage the Astros, who came within eight outs of winning the World Series last year and will remain one of the teams to beat in the American League in 2020 despite the penalty handed down by MLB a week ago.