Nationals

Quick Links

Report: Astros focused on Dusty Baker in search for AJ Hinch's replacement

Report: Astros focused on Dusty Baker in search for AJ Hinch's replacement

The scandal-ridden Houston Astros are focusing on Dusty Baker to help guide their ball club as manager for the 2020 season, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Tuesday.

Commissioner Rob Manfred handed down one-year suspensions of Astros manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow on Jan. 13 for their ineptitude in the team’s electronic sign-stealing scheme that coincided with their 2017 championship season. Houston owner Jim Crane met with the media later that day and announced that he was going a step beyond that and firing both of them.

Now, the Astros are reportedly looking to the three-time Manager of the Year Baker to help guide the team through a 2020 campaign that’s certain to bring a level of scrutiny the organization has never seen before.

USA TODAY had reported that the Astros were set to hire Baker, though Ken Rosenthal reports the two sides remain in discussions and no deal has been completed yet. 

A 70-year-old former skipper of the Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, Baker ranks 15th all-time with 1,863 career wins but has never won a World Series as a manager. He most recently coached in Washington, guiding the Nationals to back-to-back NL East titles in 2016 and 2017 but failing to advance past the NLDS each time. Former Nationals reliever Koda Glover chimed in on Twitter to voice his support for his former skipper.

Baker is regarded as a well-liked manager who can keep a positive clubhouse culture even amid challenging circumstances. He managed the clashing personalities of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent in San Francisco and handled the added media attention the Nationals received while employing the services of Bryce Harper.

Houston's reported interest in Baker adds yet another connection between the co-inhabitants of the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, the Astros and Nationals.

The teams also faced off in last year’s World Series, with the Nationals overcoming a 3-2 deficit to win the title in seven games. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman spoke with reporters Tuesday about the Astros' scandal, saying, "I think it’s completely wrong when you start messing with the integrity of the game in any aspect. It’s the greatest sin that you can do.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

NBA trade market is reportedly 'very sluggish' as deadline nears

NBA trade market is reportedly 'very sluggish' as deadline nears

We are eight days away from the NBA trade deadline, and as plenty of intriguing players, including Wizards forward Davis Bertans, figure to garner plenty of interest around the league, we may not see that many moves. 

At least, that's what Adrian Wojnarowski talked about on ESPN Tuesday night. 

"The one thing you're not hearing among conversation right now, are not many front-line, significant players [are] on the move," Wojnarowski said. "That may change next week, but right now it's a very sluggish, slow trade deadline market right now."

The summer of 2019 saw an unprecedented amount of player movement in free agency. Not only did that completely change the landscape of the NBA, but it dried up almost every team's cap space for the summer of 2020. 

Since this year's free-agent market won't include the star power and teams won't have the same ability to make impactful changes to their roster, you'd think the trade market would be buzzing. Especially in a year where the path to the NBA Finals hasn't been this wide open in years. 

"I had one team tell me today that [they have] gotten fewer calls and made fewer calls than at any time in recent years around the trade deadline," he said. "And this is a team that's usually pretty active."

This goes in line with a recent report that suggested all inquiries to the Wizards regarding Bertans have gone nowhere. It's common for teams to wait as long as possible up until the deadline in order to get the most value possible for their assets. If the Wizards aren't alone in shutting most trade talks down, that would explain what Woj is hearing. 

But it's important to note that things can change quickly. Wojnarowski explained how on Super Bowl Sunday it's generally quiet around the league. Then when everyone re-groups on Monday, conversations typically start to take off. 

All it takes is one trade to set the market. The Rockets are reportedly looking to unload future draft picks to upgrade their roster, so maybe it'll be them. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: