Los Angeles Angels fans finally got to see something positive with the Houston Astros eliminated from the playoffs. Sure, it was at the hands of a different division rival, but after watching Houston dominate for so long it's nice to see a new team represent the AL in the Fall Classic.
With their elimination came some surprising news. Dusty Baker is reportedly planning on retiring from baseball after an outstanding career. Baker likely leaving Houston is bad news for the Angels for a couple of reasons.
Dusty Baker's departure could cause some trouble for the LA Angels
First, the Astros managerial vacancy is now one of, if not the most attractive one in all of baseball. Whoever the team decides to hire will join a stacked roster that has gone to seven straight American League Championship Series and has won two World Series titles in that time.
Any manager the Angels are considering to replace Phil Nevin could easily turn to Houston if the Astros want them and choose their job. The Astros job is more desirable on so many different levels than the Angels who haven't had a winning season in eight years, have a dysfunctional owner, and could be losing Shohei Ohtani.
Second, Baker was largely responsible for holding Houston back this past season. His refusal to bench former Angel Martin Maldonado in favor of the younger and clearly better Yainer Diaz was staggering. His choosing to occasionally bench Chas McCormick who had a 130 OPS+ this season in favor of a singles hitter in Mauricio Dubon was also quite odd. It was Baker's managing in Game 7 that helped that game get way out of hand in the Rangers favor.
Houston will most likely be upgrading at the manager spot which is the last thing the Angels needed for a team that already owned the division and this Angels team. It'll be interesting to see who the Astros decide to hire and see if anyone they interview conflicts with whatever the Angels are thinking of doing.