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MLB Rumors: Astros’ Joe Espada to Replace Dusty Baker as Manager After Bench Role

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 21: Bench coach Joe Espada #19 of the Houston Astros looks on during batting practice before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park on August 21, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are nearing an end to their search for a successor to Dusty Baker.

USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale and the New York Post‘s Jon Heyman reported Houston is expected to hire Joe Espada, who has been the Astros’ bench coach since 2018.

Baker served as manager of the Astros from 2020-23 leading the team to four consecutive appearances in the American League Championship Series in his four seasons at the helm. Houston also reached the World Series back-to-back in 2021 and 2022, winning it all in 2022.

The 74-year-old announced his retirement at the end of the 2023 season after 26 years managing in Major League Baseball.

“I’m very grateful and thankful to Jim Crane and the Houston Astros for giving me this opportunity, and to win a championship,” Baker told Nightengale of USA Today in October. “I felt like they’ve been good for me, and I’ve been good for them.

“What I really appreciate is that Jim has been totally honest and transparent with me on all things.”

Now Espada will be tasked with continuing Houston’s run of success for the foreseeable future, which on paper shouldn’t be too difficult with a star-studded roster.

Houston’s roster is headlined by second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, shortstop Jeremy Peña, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, right fielder Kyle Tucker and pitchers Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez.

The Astros enter the 2024 season looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Texas Rangers in the 2023 ALCS. Players will have to buy into Espada’s system if Houston hopes to bring home another title.

That shouldn’t be too much of an issue given the existing rapport he has with everyone in the clubhouse.



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