- The Houston Astros needed a manager after A.J. Hinch was fired amid the team’s sign-stealing scandal
- Dusty Baker has 22 years of managerial experience across four organizations
- Baker has never won a World Series, yet Houston’s 2020 futures are rebounding
In a few weeks, sunny locales in Florida and Arizona will host MLB teams for spring training, which is the first clear-cut sign that baseball season is around the corner. While most organizations have their rosters set and their camp invitations in order, the Houston Astros were still missing a pretty significant piece — a manager.
The turmoil caused by the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal led to the firings of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. They still don’t have a new GM, but as of Tuesday, they are expected to hire 22-year managerial veteran Dusty Baker.
In the hours since the news broke, the Astros’ 2020 World Series odds moved in a positive direction. While their odds were as long as +750 late last week, they are +683 (on average) today and as short as +550 at Bovada.
2020 World Series Odds
|Team||Odds at Bovada|
|New York Yankees||+325|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+600|
Odds taken Jan. 26
What does this news mean for bettors? How can Baker help the Astros? Those questions are answered below, with advice to follow.
Baker’s first MLB managerial role dates back to 1993, and thus he’s considered “old school,” while everything else the Astros project in their image comes off as “new school.” Perhaps this was deliberate, perhaps it was coincidental.
Either way, there’s a lot to like about what Baker has accomplished in the majors.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 20, 2020
Seven years after wrapping up a 19-year MLB career, Baker took over as manager of the San Francisco Giants. He led them to a World Series berth in 2002, where they fell one game shy. In 2003, he led the Cubs to the NLCS, though they blew a 3-1 lead and missed the World Series.
Baker, a three-time Manager of the Rear winner, has a lifetime record of 1863-1636 (.532). In other words, he has seen a lot and won a lot.
No Cole In The Astros’ Stocking
Baker or no Baker, the Astros are dealing with a gargantuan loss as they head into the 2020 season without stud pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Cole, the MLB strikeout king and AL Cy Young runner-up last year, joined the Yankees (the odds-on favorites to win the World Series) via free agency.
Gerrit Cole’s movement is a cheat code pic.twitter.com/Gqp9HBBf6u
— Baseball Central™ (@BaseballCentraI) January 27, 2020
The Astros are a better team with Cole, but it’s worth noting that their 2017 World Series victory came without him.
A Loaded Lineup Nonetheless
Minus Cole, the Astros still boast a rotation led by Justin Verlander (the 2019 AL Cy Young winner) and Zack Greinke (3.11 ERA over the past three seasons). They’ll also welcome back Lance McCullers Jr., who has a 3.87 career ERA across four seasons but missed last year due to injury.
Lance McCullers Jr. 2015-2016 strikeouts supercut
From Aaron Hlavaty on YouTube pic.twitter.com/knesjSvWSK
— 𝕁𝕒𝕜𝕠𝕓 🌟 (#RIPKobe) (@jakedc6) December 29, 2019
In the field, Houston’s lineup is still as loaded as ever: with AL MVP runner-up Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve (2017 AL MVP), and George Springer (an All-Star in three consecutive seasons).
The Astros’ scandal and loss of Cole has made for one of the rockiest off-seasons ever. But the team is still loaded and ready for another World Series run (an appearance in 2020 would be their third in four years).
Baker brings something special to the mix, too: he has experience dealing with difficult situations.
He was the manager of the Giants through Barry Bonds’ most heavily scrutinized seasons. He was also the manager of the Cubs during the Steve Bartman curse and in the years that followed.
— Fanatics View (@fanaticsview) October 23, 2016
With the right manager in place and a star-studded lineup, now’s the time to bet the Astros. Their odds have shortened already — they are likely to be shorter before Opening Day.
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