Dusty Baker is not going to manage the Houston Astros forever.
While he is returning for the 2023 season, Baker is 73 years old. It would not have been a surprise if he had retired following the Astros’ title as that World Series ring was the last thing left for Baker to accomplish in what has been a Hall of Fame managerial career. He is not going to be the long term answer on the bench.
Joe Espada waiting for turn with Houston Astros
This means that the Astros will need to find a new manager in the next year or two. The answer may already be on their bench as they have signed bench coach Joe Espada to a new contract for the 2023 campaign.
Espada has been viewed as a future manager for years. He had reportedly been hired by the White Sox for their vacant managerial positioning before they changed course repetitively. At some point, Espada will get his chance to prove that he can be the manager evaluators envision him to be.
That time could happen in 2024. Espada has been one of Baker’s trusted leuitenants, someone that he can rely upon to get another view of what is happening on the diamond. Meanwhile, Espada has been able to learn from Baker, getting to see the game from his vantage point as he continues his apprenticeship for an eventual managerial role.
It would make sense for that opportunity to happen in Houston. Espada is intimately familiar with the players, ownership, and those who remain in the front office. He could take over for Baker without the Astros missing a beat, a manager in waiting who would step into the perfect situation for success.
Joe Espada will be back with the Houston Astros for the 2023 season. If Dusty Baker decides to walk away after next year, Espada could be the next man up.