Dusty Baker has some "unfinished business" with the Houston Astros. Baker said as much following the team's loss to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series and will return for at least one more year to try to win a championship with the Astros.
The Astros announced Friday they re-signed Baker to a one-year deal.
Baker, 72, is among the most accomplished managers in major-league history. He's posted a .534 winning percentage over 24 years as a manager. Baker won the Manager of the Year award three times in that span, led a record five different teams to division titles and appeared in the World Series twice. Despite his success, Baker is still searching for his first World Series title as a manager.
The Astros turned to Baker after A.J. Hinch was fired amid the fallout of the team's sign-stealing scandal. Baker has a .559 winning percentage in two seasons with the Astros.
Baker expressed a desire to return for another year immediately after the team's loss in Game 6 of the World Series.
Dusty reiterates he would like to continue managing the Astros: “Yeah, because I've still got some unfinished business. I mean, I love these guys over here. I love the town of Houston. The fans are behind us.” pic.twitter.com/YB377ZuTYv
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 3, 2021
Baker also received support from shortstop Carlos Correa, who is set to be a free agent.
Dusty Baker will try to lead new-look Astros back to World Series in 2022
Baker's job could get significantly more challenging in 2022. The Astros could lose three key players in free agency: Correa, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander.
Correa would be the biggest loss of that group. Greinke pitched well in 2021, but showed signs of decline. Verlander got injured in his first regular-season start in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season recovering.
Even if all three players leave, the Astros still have a solid core featuring Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. The team's rotation looks strong too, with Lance McCullers Jr., Jose Urquidy and Framber Valdez all showing growth in 2021.
All that talent should keep the Astros in contention in 2022, giving Baker one more chance to win a ring. If that doesn't happen, it will be up to Baker to decide whether he's in for 2023.