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MLB Manager Merry-Go-Round: Dusty Retires, Giants Poach BoMel from Friars


Oct. 27, 2023

Morgan Killian-Moseley


Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker announced his retirement yesterday. Baker went 354-245 as Houston’s skipper, including playoff games, and won last year’s World Series. 

Baker has a career managerial record of 2240-1913 (including postseason). He is a 3-time Manager of the Year and the first black manager with over 2000 regular season wins, with his 2183 standing 7th-most all time. Baker also has the honor of taking five different teams (San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, Astros) to playoff berths. In addition to last year’s title, Baker won two more pennants; in 2019 with Houston and in 2002 with San Francisco.


As a player, Baker hit .278 with a .779 OPS, 242 home runs, and 1013 runs batted in. In 1981 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baker was an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and helped the Dodgers win the World Series. Baker also holds the distinction of being in the on-deck circle for the Atlanta Braves when Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974 against L.A. 's Al Downing.


Meanwhile, the Giants announced Bob Melvin as their new manager on Wednesday; who makes a lateral move from the San Diego Padres after two seasons. The Padres made it to the NLCS last year but struggled this season, finishing third in the NL West. Melvin, who also managed the Oakland Athletics from 2011-2021, replaced Gabe Kapler, who was fired with three games remaining in the regular season.


This isn’t the first time the Giants have snagged a skipper directly from the Padres.  Bruce Bochy managed the Friars from 1995-2006, taking them to the 1998 World Series. Bochy then managed San Francisco from 2007-2019, winning three World Series titles (2010, ‘12, ‘14). Bochy, of course, came out of retirement this season to lead the Texas Rangers to the World Series.


With these moves, there are five managerial openings in the Majors.  The Astros and Padres join the Cleveland Guardians, Los Angeles Angels, and New York Mets as teams with no 2024 field boss at this time.  


The Angels have interviewed former Mets manager Buck Showalter for the job, according to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. It would be the sixth team Showalter will have managed if hired (Yankees, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Mets). No matter who succeeds Phil Nevin in Anaheim, they’ll likely be in charge of a rebuild as two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will likely leave the team in free agency and oft-injured star Mike Trout may be an expendable trade chip as well.


As for the Mets, SNY’s Andy Martino reported that they have been granted permission to interview Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose contract expires at the end of the month. Counsell is the Brewers’ all-time winningest manager, has led the Brew Crew to the three NL Central titles and five playoff appearances in the last six seasons, and is a Wisconsin native. But according to Martino, Counsell would “not be averse” to joining the Mets; and considering that Milwaukee has only won one playoff game in the past five years, the Brewers organization may be looking to make a change too.


The Guardians have also received permission to interview Counsell, according to The Athletic’s Will Sammon, and reports have also stated that former A’s catcher and current Mariners bullpen coach Stephen Vogt is under “serious consideration” to succeed Terry Francona in Cleveland.


In San Diego, reports state that the choice comes down to bench coach Ryan Flaherty and player development coordinator Mike Shildt. Shildt was the boss for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2018-2021, winning three NL Central titles with the Cards; but Flaherty has risen up the ranks on San Diego’s coaching staff rather quickly. Pitching coach Ruben Niebla may get some consideration as well.


In Houston bench coach Joe Espada is the favorite in the clubhouse to succeed Baker, but that doesn’t mean the ‘Stros won’t look elsewhere. Diamondbacks bench coach and former Rangers manager Jeff Banister may be in the running, as could former Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi. Former Astros catcher and Tigers and Angels manager Brad Ausmus may also receive some consideration.

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