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Dusty Baker Will Be The Triage The Astros Need In United States

Dusty Baker Will Be The Triage The Astros Need In United States
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In the wake of the sign-stealing scandal in Major League Baseball, USA Today reported early Tuesday that veteran manager Dusty Baker will be offered the dugout manager’s position with the Houston Astros. While the club would not confirm, Jon Heyman later reported that the club is looking to ink a deal with him at some point on Wednesday.

As managerial signings go, this one is different. So much so, that normal considerations about how Baker might or might not make in-game strategic decisions become nearly secondary. After MLB’s suspension, followed by Astros owner Jim Crane firing of not only general manager Jeff Luhnow, but manager A.J. Hinch, the team is rudderless as it heads into Spring Training. The only certainty is that the players will be dogged by the media, fans, and opposing players for being involved in a cheating scandal that allowed batters to know the types of pitches that were coming in advance. Some have made claim that short of only the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and the stain of performance-enhancing drugs around the steroid era has baseball been rocked by something that digs so deeply into the heart of the game.
The Astros are like the victim of a self-inflicted car accident: they’ve driven head-long into a wall and the club is so badly damaged that decisions to save the life have to be made before you can get better. In that, Baker is the triage needed for the team.

In his 22 years of managing across the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals, he has a .532 winning percentage, was Manager of the Year in 1993, 1997, and 2000 — part of solid resume.Make no mistake, there are detractors of Baker, and in any other time, they would raise valid questions. Baker has a 23-32 postseason, which is nothing to write home about and is bound to be a concern to fans and media given the Astros won the World Series in 2017 and were one win away from winning the 2019 Fall Classic. As to how Baker has managed in the Fall Classic, Game 6 of the 2002 World Series is the point in which the Giants ultimately lost the series. Baker pulled starter Russ Ortiz, who had a 5-0 shutout going in the 7th inning, gave Ortiz the ball in the dugout, and proceeded to watch Félix Rodríguez give up consecutive singles and eventually watched the whole game slip away as the Anaheim Angels scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th and 8th inning to win the game. And rightly or wrongly, Baker was fired most-recently from the Washington Nationals in 2013 when the team lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game. He’s been known to toy with the bullpen that has had people scratching their head. And where Hinch embraced the analytics approach that has largely made the Astros successful, Baker leans old-school.

While those things matter, they really don’t. You have to tend to the other critical parts. Save the body. That has to come, first.

Let’s be honest and talk about what Baker will be tasked with: managing the media, and the clubhouse. Baker is well-liked by the media and is deft at handling it. Given the massive amount of media attention the Astros will receive at every game in every city they travel to, someone that can navigate those waters is needed. He’ll bring a sense of discipline to the clubhouse given the sign-stealing scheme was, according to Commissioner Manfred’s report “player driven”. Baker is the guy to handle such heavy glare.

If fans want to say that while those are reasons, just not good ones to hire Baker, it seems nearly impossible that anyone other than a veteran presence could handle it. There was no way Crane was going to hand over the team to the untried. Throwing someone to the wolves like that would be a dumpster fire. In an off-season that has already been one, the last thing the Astros need is to throw more gas on it all.

In the end, Baker is a salve for the wound on the Astros. I doubt he will be applied long. When contract details are revealed, would it surprise anyone if the length is one, maybe two years, max? “Get the ship righted, so we can be on our way,” is bound to be what’s on Crane’s mind. Someday the scandal becomes faded for the Astros. Crane has to look out past the mayhem heading into the 2020 season and plot what occurs after.

So, #Dusty #Baker is the perfect hire for the storm that is the 2020 Houston Astros. It’s a veteran team. They are well positioned to still win, despite the cheating cloud over them. If he does nothing more, he will have done all that is really needed for a team seen as a band of cheaters.


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