Dusty Baker might be finished as a manager, but the baseball lifer has a job in the Astros front office anytime he wants it. Owner Jim Crane told reporters (including Brian McTaggart of MLB.com) that Baker is “always welcome” in the Astros organization. Meanwhile, the long-time skipper said he is “retiring from the field” but hasn’t made up his mind about what comes next (per Chandler Rome of The Athletic).
As for hiring a new manager to replace Baker, the Astros are just beginning their search. Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests that bench coach Joe Espada and former Tigers and Angels manager Brad Ausmus are “strong candidates.” Ausmus was a contender for the Astros GM position last offseason and the managerial opening back in 2020. Espada was another candidate in the team’s last managerial search, and he has interviewed for numerous other managing jobs in the years since. McTaggart also identified several contenders for the gig, including Ausmus, Espada, and Diamondbacks bench coach Jeff Banister.
More news from around the American League…
- After four years on the Angels’ coaching staff (three as pitching coach), Matt Wise has accepted a new job as the bullpen coach for the White Sox, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Sam Blum of The Athletic. While going from pitching coach to bullpen coach might seem like a step backward, Wise was something of a sitting duck in the Angels organization. Los Angeles is looking to hire a new manager after parting ways with Phil Nevin, and that new manager will presumably want to hire a coaching staff of his own.
- The Tigers, meanwhile, need a new first base coach. According to Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, Alfredo Amézaga will not return to A.J. Hinch’s coaching staff next season. He joined the staff ahead of the 2023 campaign after previously working as a minor league coach in the Braves organization. Amézaga is also a manager in the Mexican Winter League.
- Finally, over in the AL East, the Orioles made some changes in their scouting and player development departments. A dozen front office staffers were promoted to new roles, including Matt Blood, the new vice president of player development and domestic scouting; Koby Perez, the new vice president of international scouting and operations; and Anthony Villa, the new director of player development (per Roch Kubatko of MASN). Blood was the previous director of player development, while Perez served as director of international scouting. Villa was the minor league hitting coordinator in 2023.