Astros' Dusty Baker-Dana Brown partnership could pay major dividends

The Houston Astros have experienced significant tumult over the last half-decade for a franchise considered the gold standard across the sport.

© Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Baseball’s premier dynasty this century opted to hire a new a manger and general manager prior to the 2020 season in wake of the team’s sign-stealing scandal, and another GM exited Houston after 2022 due to contractual strife. Perhaps Houston’s new leader of baseball operations can add some stability to the organization.

Dana Brown brings over two decades of MLB experience as Houston’s new general manager, and the former Atlanta executive has stayed busy since starting the role in late January. Brown spearheaded the negotiations for pitcher Cristian Javier’s five-year contract extension, and has floated the idea of additional contract extensions for Houston’s current core. As the Astros roll into Year 7 of their dynasty, Brown brings a steady and opportunistic hand.

One Astro in particular appears pleased with the addition of Brown. Manager Dusty Baker discussed his early impressions of Brown when speaking with the media Thursday, highlighting his deep background across various levels of the sport. 

“[Brown] brings a well-rounded resume,” Baker said. “This guy has played, scouted, been in the front office. He’s done quite a few things in a short period of time.”

There is one major difference on the surface between Brown and his predecessors in Houston. Jeff Luhnow and James Click were both men of relative mystery to the media, often guarded and hesitant to share information about plans for the franchise either in a given season or the coming years. Brown avoids such reticence. He remains vocal about his wish for contract extensions for the likes of Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, among others, and he’s been a visible presence both in Houston this offseason and at the Astros’ Spring Training complex in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Baker noted his appreciation for Brown’s open-book style on Thursday. 

“[Brown] is very forward,” Baker said. “He’s very up front about things.

We’re still in the honeymoon stage with Brown, so to speak, with the hope of Spring Training and Javier’s contract extension leading to nothing but optimism from Houston’s brass. The stresses of the season will soon emerge, in which the Astros will likely be active players both on the waiver market and in trade talks.

Time will tell if Brown is the right man to lead the next phase of Houston’s dynasty. For now, Brown’s approval rating remains high, with a notable endorsement from the team’s manager.

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