Somewhere during a fishing trip and a long talk with his father, Dusty Baker decided his heart is still in the right place.
After a tense two-week negotiation during which the San Francisco Giants manager publicly wondered whether he had overstayed his welcome, Baker and the Giants reached agreement Thursday on a two-year contract extension that makes Baker the game's second highest-paid manager.
In agreeing to the deal, Baker said he realized that longevity is a luxury many managers never enjoy. After eight seasons, Baker has it in San Francisco -- and now he has the money to show for it as well.
"That's an important part of this, the fact I've been able to stay here," Baker said. "That's a tough thing to do these days. We're all proud of what we've done here."
Baker spent the week fishing and thinking near his boyhood home in Sacramento. He talked over his future with his father and his wife's mother, both of whom live within a short drive in Northern California, before deciding he was determined to return.
Baker led the Giants to baseball's best record at 97-65 and the NL West title this season. A two-time NL Manager of the Year in San Francisco who's widely respected as a communicator and clubhouse leader, Baker is a frontrunner for the award again this year.
But the Giants were knocked out of the playoffs in a four-game division series with the New York Mets, and Baker said the resulting fan criticism of his moves during the series forced him to think about his decision to return.
Terms weren't disclosed, but a source close to the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Baker will make more than $2 million per year, second only to Joe Torre of the New York Yankees, who makes $3 million. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is scheduled to make $1.9 million next season.
Baker is the Giants' winningest manager since the club moved to San Francisco. He's third in franchise history in games managed and wins, trailing John McGraw and Bill Terry. "We had no doubt we wanted Dusty back here, and we were able to get it done," said general manager Brian Sabean, whose face-to-face meeting Thursday with Baker sealed the deal.