Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker was signed to a two-year deal to continue managing the team, the Reds announced Monday. Terms of the deal were not released.
According to the MLB.com story on the Reds website, Baker is believed to have made $3.5 million per year in his previous contract. Baker’s contract extension is his second with the Reds.
“There’s work left to be done,” Baker said. “I didn’t want to leave on a note that we still had work to do. It left a real pain in my heart to feel as I did at the end of the season this year.”
The pain Baker felt was shared by Cincinnati fans, who saw the team win the National League Central Division, reach the playoffs for the second time in three years, build a 2-0 series lead over the San Francisco Giants on the road, and then lose three-straight at home. The Reds became the first National League team to ever blow a 2-0 lead in a division series.
The playoff collapse had no effect on the team’s desire to bring Dusty Baker back.
“That’s why it didn’t take long,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said. “We actually had one quick meeting on Friday and we discussed some things over the weekend and wrapped up this morning.”
Some Reds fans welcomed the news of Baker’s signing, while others thought it was time for the franchise to find someone else. Baker is 419-391 (.517) as Reds skipper. He is also just the third manager in franchise history to take Cincinnati to the playoffs more than once.
Former Dayton Daily News sports writer Hal McCoy, writing for Fox Sports, understands both sides but believes that a Dusty Baker contract extension is a good idea.
“Some fans hold it against him that he is 1-9 in postseason elimination games and that he and former manager Gene Mauch have the most wins in major league history without ever winning a World Series,” McCoy wrote. He adds though, that the manager isn’t the one holding the bat with runners on in the late innings.
“In the final four innings, they had the tying run at the plate all four times but scored only one run,” he wrote. “Was that the manager’s fault? Of course not. Somebody, anybody holding a bat, has to come up with the game-deciding hit. It never happened.”
With a new two-year contract extension, now Dusty Baker has a chance to finish what he started with the Reds and bring the team its first World Series title since 1990.