Dusty Baker Signs 2-Year Extension with Cincinnati Reds

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 15, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 09:  Dusty Baker the manager of the Cincinnati Reds watches batting practice before Game Three of the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants at the Great American Ball Park on October 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite being eliminated in the NLDS for the second time in three seasons, the Cincinnati Reds are sticking with Dusty Baker.

The news of Baker's two-year contract extension comes from the Associated Press (via ESPN):

The 63-year-old manager agreed to a two-year contract extension Monday, the same length as his last deal. The Reds have won the NL Central title in two of the last three years under Baker, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Baker's biggest critics will point to his lack of playoff success. During his five years with the Reds, the veteran manager has led them to two postseason appearances, but after blowing a 2-0 series lead to the San Francisco Giants last week, it's been two first-round exits. 

Still, the untimely loss of Johnny Cueto had something to do with that, and Baker's regular-season success has to count for something.

Over the past three years, Baker has led the Reds to 267 wins, the best such stretch in more than 30 years. During his five-year tenure, he has turned Cincinnati from a home-run-dependent club to a pitching and defensive powerhouse, posting a 419-391 record (.525 winning percentage).

Many will wonder if Baker is the man to lead the Reds to the next step, but it's hard to argue with this year's 97 wins, no matter how the next five games played out.

Moreover, Baker is on a short list of mangers to win three division titles with three separate squads, proving he isn't just the beneficiary of elite talent around him.  

Reds fans are likely down in the dumps after being quickly eliminated from the playoffs, but this signing, at the very least, provides stability at the top for the future.