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Pirates player development director John Baker in line to become an MLB manager?

Baker joined the Pirates organization in 2020.

Florida Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is two months into the regular season, but one insider already foreshadowed a potential move this offseason.

MLB Network reporter JP Morosi pointed to Pittsburgh Pirates coach and farm director John Baker as a potential managerial candidate.

Morosi tweeted about a curious comment former Cubs and Red Sox executive Kyle Evans said about the Pirates man tasked with much of the Minor League operations. During an interview on MLB Network Radio last week, Evans talked about Baker as a future MLB manager at some point.

The Pirates hired Baker to oversee the minor leagues in November 2020. He has worked in the organization for over two and a half years as a director and coach of player development.

Baker was selected by the Oakland A’s in the 4th round of the 2002 MLB draft. The lefty-hitting catcher reached the majors with the Florida Marlins in 2008. He played seven big league seasons with the Marlins, San Diego Padres, and Chicago Cubs. He also spent time in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners.

He began his coaching career in the Cubs organization as a baseball operations assistant. Baker worked in that capacity for over a year before spending January 2017 to January 2020 as a mental skills coordinator in Chicago. He transitioned into the role of MLB head applied mental skills for the next 11 months before joining the Pirates.

Becoming an MLB manager may be in the cards for Baker at some point down the road. Jumping from farm director to manager seems to be an unusual transition, potentially coming further down the road after being an MLB coach in the dugout every day or minor league manager.

Regardless, the Pirates employ a highly respected young coach who helped turn the farm system and organization around. Baker’s impact will continue to be felt as more top prospects continue to make their MLB debuts. His role in developing them on and off the field as players is being recognized around baseball.