Houston Astros: Dusty Baker shares thoughts on future, expectations

JUPITER, FL - MARCH 07: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Houston Astros looks into the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 5-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 07: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Houston Astros looks into the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 5-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros hired Dusty Baker, then 70, as their AJ Hinch replacement, and he is unsure if he will return for the 2022 season.

On Monday, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to reporters at a press conference to address his future and expectations for the 2021 season. ’21 will be Baker’s 24th season as a manager, and at the age of 71, he is unsure if he will return for the 2022 season.

In late January 2020, the Astros hired Baker to replace AJ Hinch, and by the start of season in July, they had picked up his option to return for 2021. Baker told reporters that he will see how the season goes before making his decision whether to return to Houston.

When the topic of Springer and Brantley arose, Baker said the decision is not up to him if they return, and that he is glad he is not the general manger there is no offseason. Along with changes to the team, the veteran manger wants to see the universal DH and 7-inning doubleheaders return in ’21. Considering Baker is known for his old-school preferences, it perhaps came as a surprise to hear him make such comments.

The issues with the bullpen surfaced in ’20, but Baker gave praise when appropriate. He called Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Enoli Paredes “mis niños,” or “my sons.” Baker expressed gratitude and respect to each player as they helped the Astros overcome an injury-ridden rotation and bullpen.

Baker hinted that the Astros are in talks with some relievers as that is one of the main priorities for the offseason. As some of the “big boys” are being signed, Baker and the Astros will see what the market value if players will be around. Three of the biggest free agent relievers currently available are Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand, and Blake Treinen, and for the Houston Astros, Hendriks looks to be their main target.

Nearing the age of 72, Dusty Baker enters his final season under contract with Houston for the ’21 season.

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