The Houston Astros are bringing back Dusty Baker, Brent Strom and Gary Pettis for 2021.
Just four games into the season, the Houston Astros already provided some clarity as to their 2021 coaching staff. The team announced on Tuesday that it has exercised the contract options for manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Brent Strom and third base coach Gary Pettis for next year.
Baker is only in his first season managing the team but the front office is giving him a vote of confidence. To be fair, it wouldn’t be entirely right to judge him based on a sample of only 60 games, and he hasn’t done anything to warrant the team not being confident in him.
In fact, he’s quickly made himself an Astros fan favorite, especially after his comments during and after Tuesday’s high-tension matchup with the Dodgers. We won’t repeat what he may or may not have said during the game that was caught by TV mics, but afterward he accused the Dodgers of playing “dirty baseball” and said, “We don’t start nothing, but we don’t take nothing either.” As far as I’m concerned, he can manage this team for as long as he likes.
The team picking up his option also means he could have a shot at reaching 2,000 career wins next season, as he currently sits at 1,866. He’s taken four different teams to the postseason and could well make that five with the Astros. Some fans are still missing AJ Hinch, but Baker is a great baseball man and it’s hard to find anyone better to represent a team.
Strom has been instrumental in the Astros success over the past several seasons, helping Gerrit Cole morph into a complete buzzsaw while turning cast-offs such as Will Harris, Collin McHugh and Charlie Morton into impact players. He said he’d considered retiring after this year but has been reinvigorated by working with the litany of young pitchers the team is using.
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Both Strom and Baker are 71 years old, so they’re no spring chickens. But as long as they’re physically up to the job, the Astros will be happy to have them.
The 62-year-old Pettis has been the team’s third base coach since 2015 and is one of the more aggressive coaches in the game at sending baserunners home. He also instructs baserunning and outfield defense, both of which he excelled at in his playing career. Pettis won five Gold Glove awards in center field and had six seasons of 38 or more steals.
All three of these coaches certainly deserve to come back next year, so kudos to the front office for committing to them for another year. Hopefully that will translate to further success on the field and better development for the team’s young players.