Four years after the Nationals unceremoniously parted ways with manager Dusty Baker, the club has signed his son Darren to a professional contract.
Washington selected Darren in the 10th round of the 2021 MLB Draft and reportedly inked him to a $146,800 signing bonus Tuesday. The UC Berkeley product hit .327 with 28 stolen bases in 55 games for the Golden Bears this past season. He plays second base unlike his father, who spent nearly all of his 19 seasons in the majors roaming the outfield.
Dusty, now skipper for the Houston Astros, talked with reporters Wednesday about what it meant to see his son sign with the Nationals.
“It was cool,” Baker said. “It’s something that, when you see your kids accomplish a lifelong goal, because he’s wanted to play ball since he was — as long as I can remember he’s been around the ballpark. I used to get on him [for] sliding at the airport, sliding at the grocery store. He was sliding everywhere. So he’s excited. My wife is there with him now so he’s getting ready to go on a new adventure.”
Dusty added that he told Darren to keep the contract for looking back on later. The two-time All-Star said that he’s kept all of his contracts over the years, stashing them in a drawer for safekeeping.
The Nationals hired Dusty ahead of the 2016 season and he led the club to back-to-back NL East titles for the first time in franchise history. However, Washington failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs both years and opted not to re-sign him when his contract ended after the 2017 season.
Darren, whom the Nationals drafted in the 27th round in 2017 but didn't sign, has been in the spotlight before. He was the San Francisco Giants' bat boy, in the 2002 World Series, who was nearly plowed over at home plate before being scooped up by J.T. Snow at the last second.