Baseball lifer Dusty Baker has been hired as the next manager of the Houston Astros, the team announced Wednesday. The contract includes a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Baker replaces AJ Hinch, who was fired in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal after receiving a one-year suspension from Major League Baseball. The findings from Major League Baseball's investigation led to the dismissal of Hinch, Alex Cora with the Red Sox and Carlos Beltrán with the Mets as a result of their role in creating the 2017 World Series championship-winning team's sign-stealing operation, which continued into the 2018 season. Hinch was the team's manager since 2015.
The Astros reportedly interviewed nine managerial candidates, including Brad Ausmus, Buck Showalter, John Gibbons and Will Venable.
Baker, 70, has not managed in the majors since 2017 when he was the Nationals' manager for two seasons. He will be the oldest manager in the majors in 2020.
"I'm extremely thankful for this opportunity," Baker said in a statement. "This is a great ball club with outstanding players that know how to win."
He won 95 games in 2016 and 97 games in 2017. Washington made the decision to part ways with Baker after the Nationals lost the National League Division Series to the Cubs in five games.
Baker has amassed a career 1,863–1,636 record in 22 years as a manager. As well as the Nationals, he previously managed the Giants, Cubs and Reds. He played for 19 seasons and won a World Series in 1981 with the Dodgers.