Dropping A.J. Hinch wasn’t just a momentous occasion for the Astros. It also created an entirely unexpected opportunity for some as-yet-unknown skipper-to-be. The keys to an extremely talented Houston roster are lying on the dugout bench, waiting to be claimed.
Astros owner Jim Crane will be looking for a steady manager who can both guide the players and put a trustworthy face on the organization as it navigates choppy waters. It’s a tough and somewhat unusual gig, at least at the outset, but you can bet there’ll be no shortage of interest.
We’ve already seen an initial slate of candidates. It’s about what you’d expect.
The ’Stros will consider current bench coach Joe Espada along with former big leaguers Raul Ibanez and Will Venable. Espada is familiar and already under contract. But his presence in 2018 may cause some problems. While we don’t have any indication what (if any) role he played in the team’s sign-stealing efforts at that time, it’d certainly raise some questions and would not really represent the clean slate that Crane purports to seek. It’s not yet clear whether the latter two names will really be available at all: the former has spurned interest from other clubs previously while the latter is slated to play a significant role on the Cubs’ staff.
Most of the attention is sure to focus on the other possibilities. It makes sense, at first glance, for the Astros to bring in a highly experienced skipper. No surprise, then, to see Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter, and Bruce Bochy listed as possibilities. It isn’t really evident whether Bochy would have interest in jumping back in the saddle; he has indicated he would prefer at least a one-year respite after wrapping up his tenure with the Giants. But Baker and Showalter would no doubt love a shot at driving the Astros bus. Jeff Banister is also said to be of interest to the Houston organization. He has much less experience at the helm than the other three former managers but did spend a few years with the cross-state, division-rival Rangers.
We’re just at the outset of the search, though it’s expected to move quickly. From the names we’ve seen named already, who do you think the Astros ought to hire? (Poll link for app users; response order randomized.)
if he wasnt retired, Bochy. but he is.
sorry, not retired. simply not managing this year.
Wise Old Owl
Why are you sorry? Just state the facts.
Unnecessary comment, less than wise old owl.
Unnecessary comment less than WiseOldOwl.
If he wasn’t taking a year off he would be with the padres already
Well, Beltran is available. He is familiar with the Astros system. They should probably hire him.
They are interviewing John Gibbons and he isn’t even listed in your poll…
dynamite drop in monty
That’s what other is for
You would think the pollsters would at least include who they are reporting to get interviews as choices…
I noticed the other choice, Captain Obvious… and voted accordingly….
Depends on whether the Astros are looking to hire a manager for an indefinite term, meaning, good until fired/leaves voluntarily, or a transitional one to restore some dignity.
those arent mutually exclusive
Agreed, but a pick like Dusty signals transitional.
to everyone but Dusty.
The Yankees are giving away free mini trash cans when the Astros play them in the minor league games
The league should step up the punishment of the Astros and force them to hire Dusty Baker.
Dusty Baker:: The single greatest serial abuser of quality starting pitchers since his evil mentor, Tommy Lasorda.
Maybe they can bring on Dombrowski as GM while they’re at it so he can gut their entire system.
dynasty in boston
It’s not unheard of to presume that dombrowski will get a year suspension for 2018
True, spoken here by a Reds fan
No love for Gibby?
Where does the love for Baker come from? What has he delivered to teams he’s managed?
Thank you! What makes him a candidate for the Astros?
Good old school manager, leader of men. Just hasn’t won it all.
You forgot to add “ruiner of young pitching.”
Kerry Wood and Mark Prior are crying somewhere.
Houston or Boston or maybe the Mets probably won’t choose him, but he’s not a bad choice. He wouldn’t get to run up pitch counts anymore. Any Cincy or DC pitchers ruined by him?
Espada would probably be the best choice.
And “playoff imploder” which isn’t exactly something a team with WS aspirations should want.
Astros just looking for a name who will fly under the radar for probably 2 years till this passes by. Winning wont be as important as steady no conflict leader. Baker seems to fit that mold. Himself not bigger than life so he wont be under scrutiny, not having much controversy behind him. Calming is what management want.
As much as I’d like to see Espada get a look, Buck is the right move here.
I can see Dusty taking on the Red Sox job and doing well.
For the 1st year. And then he’ll start breaking pitchers.
If he breaks good pitchers, can he unbreakable the broken ones?
Might be a good boston fit after all
Bo Porter: “I’m available.”
This is easy. Bobby V.
Buck seems like the easy choice with Dusty being in that line also
I picked Showalter but I kind of want it to be Dusty Baker just to hear people complain about how he’s going to kill all the pitchers.
What would Joe Buck say, If Joe Espada and Buck Showalter are bench coach and Manager…
No Oscar the Grouch?
They said Buck…
I hear that Alex Cora is available. He has experience with this roster already!
They should hire Carlos Beltran
Chip Hale would be a good choice too.
Alex Cora or Pete Rose
I vote for this new guy TJ Linch…was the coach for the Bouston Bastros
As an Astros fan I’d prefer Joe Espada followed closely by Buck and Bochy. Venable and Gibbons behind them. Espada has earned it and is familiar with the players. Having said that, a no nonsense guy like Showalter or Bochy would be nice.
Espada makes sense. since he is more familiar with the staff and players for two seasons now.
Yes, I am sure Espada knew nothing about what was going on cheating-wise since he was just the BENCH COACH!
Gibby: Ownership will want to distance themselves from recent history asap. This puts a face on that effort and adds an ability to take some of the heat out of the fire almost instinctively. Suggests it would be as as much an image-based hire as skills-based. I’ll be watching to see if the smirk at the edge of a grin just before a smile is back.
Gibby is actually ideal for this. As the “front man”, with his demeanor, he can take any heat and, if they do regress, the media will make his excuses for him. He’ll hang out the “gone fishin’ ” sign, sit back, and test the angle-of-recline limits of his chair …while I hope he doesn’t exceed them. (I lie. Just once …on camera …for posterity, you know?)
Showalter is leading the poll but he always seems to be the guy to be brought in for a rebuild, gets the team to respectable and then can’t go any farther. He is probably not the best fit for the Astros.
You would think they would grab a Bochy or Baker type. They already have a ton of talent and just need someone to not f it up.
Brad Asmus …
Is he available? I thought he was in Anaheim
Why? Watched his mess from a distance in San Francisco and Chicago. Watched it first hand here in Cincy. He is terrible. Unless that’s what you’re looking for
I like Will Venable, but I believe they will make a safe type of hire. Someone that can right the ship, because this situation is an embarrassment to the organization.
They will hire a veteran, Washington or Showalter
It’s time give Ibanez a chance.
Tim Wallach. Former Expos are good managers. No more old retreads, please!
I would like Bruce Bochy or Dusty Baker, as an Astros fan. But Nationals fans gave Baker a lot of criticism…
Need to get Pete Incaviglia from the Sugarland Skeeters
Cora is available.
I haven’t heard one mention of Mike Scoscia.
He would be a much better choice than Gibbons, Showalter or Baker. He knows the AL and specifically the AL West.
Think he’d come back or is he done?
Make Baseball Great Again!
And what does everyone do if the Astros get the World Series title again this year and being under a microscope
How does Brad Ausmus not make the cut?
either OSCAR THE GROUCH or one of the GARBAGE PAIL KIDS
The game is headed towards younger managers. I don’t see people like Dusty, Bochy or Buck being hired
i hate my father
Is anyone else just looking forward to rooting against them next season?
I wonder how many teams are going to have trash can giveaways when the Astros are in town?
My money is on Buck Showalter being the next Astros or Red Sox manager.
Jim Leyland and Jack McKeon coin flip (2 out of 3) the loser is the first base coach
While a terrific manager, I do not believe Buck Showalter is a fit for the Astros at all. He has always been at his best teaching young guys how to be a professional, work ethic, etc – very detailed, to the point of going overboard about it. Veteran teams have always gotten tired of the way he goes about managing. Again, while he is a terrific manager, I do not believe his style will cater to a lot of veteran players who have won a lot — even though they might should be taught how to um, do it the right way.
Ausmus or Biggio anyone?
Oakland and Angels fans voting for Buck with the hope he’ll do for the Astros what he did for Baltimore in 2017 and 2018.
Eli Wallach-Would be great choice
A dead actor? That would be an interesting choice!
Eli has been Tim’s nickname since Jim Fanning mistakenly called him Eli while calling him to pinch hit with the Expos in 1982.
Crane should bring Phil Garner out of retirement. The fans love him and Garner had nothing to do with the sign stealing. Garner took the Astros to the WS once already, maybe he can do it again. The 2020 team has more talent than the 2005 team did, that’s for sure.
Feels like it needs to be someone who has enough experience under his belt that the task of trying to reform a corrupt organization is just another day at the office, and whose career and reputation don’t depend on the outcome. Bochy, Showalter, Scioscia, or Baker fit the bill.
Get a guy who is open to the analytical side of things. That’s how this FO works. That’s how this org was built. Don’t give me some dinosaur like showalter or Baker because they have a “veteran presence” They’re past their time.
I think Banister is a decent play if you want a manager with experience. He’s analytically literate and he took the Rangers to the postseason a couple times. They interviewed him in ‘14. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him being the one.
Forget analytics, that isn’t the next step for the Astros. If ownership is serious about reforming the reputation of the organization they need a manager who has a history of respect for the game, someone who can reach a bunch of players who thought it was okay to cheat.
Bo Porter would be a logical guy to look at. He has a relationship with a lot of those players from their formative days.
Is Hinch’s replacement going to manage the AL team in the All Star Game this year? If not, who? I’m surprised this subject hasn’t come up. Just to raise the stakes some, it will be played at… Dodger Stadium.
They will likely have Aaron Boone manage the game.
Possibly, but I’ve heard no discussion of this issue.
Whoever won MOY(Baldelli) maybe? Or manager with best record when All Star voting closes?
Baker. Management style is almost perfectly opposite to the previous Luhnow-led team. Tons of personal integrity but almost no interest in modern analytics.
Are we going to crucify analytics? I’m confident the guys left in the Houston FO are going to want to deploy the information they gather on the baseball field. The Astros problem was the video camera, not the analytics. That’s how this team got up off the ground. I’d be shocked to see them abandon it just to get a “culture” guy or whatever. Especially for a long time postseason choker like Baker.
Not meant at all as a dig at analytics. Just pointing out how much of a different direction it would be for the Astros to hire Dusty Baker.
Yeah I gotcha. I just think it’d be an extreme stretch to expect someone like a Showalter/Baker in that dugout. The team was built in large part due to their FO work and the data they provided. I would imagine the manager has to be open to using that. Maybe the old dogs can change but it would surprise me.
And obviously this late in the offseason, they may have to pick a suboptimal candidate. So, perhaps it will surprise me.
I agree, the next step for Houston has to be rescuing their reputation. This is the point where we find out how seriously ownership takes the damage they have done not just to themselves but to the game.
They’re grown men. And we know they didn’t cheat in that manner last season so I think that’s overblown.
Many of them are barely more than teenagers, but that’s besides the point. The fact that so many were willing to participate in or tolerate cheating says to me that the Astros have a significant cultural problem within their organization that won’t go away because two people were fired because so many remain. If anything the damage they’ve done to the game is under-blown. Their choice of a new manager is the first statement they will make that shows they get it.
If that’s the way you feel. The team has been to multiple World Series and there’s very few that are “barely above being teenagers” I mean that’s just not true at all. They were the 3rd oldest team in the league last season. So you know unless every team in the major leagues is a bunch of kids that’s really not a conclusion you can draw.
They went to the WS last year and they didn’t cheat in this manner. What they have is working very well on the field. That wasn’t my point in the beginning. My point was that they aren’t going to go against their analytical style to be morally conscious super heroes. They’re a baseball team. I don’t expect them to go with a guy who isn’t open to using that data and new line of thinking solely because he’s a “great baseball man” or something like that.
Hmm. Well, the way to respond to my point was to have actually read it and show that you understand it.
Do you know why you’re one of my favorite targets? Look no further than your post above! Smug D-Baggery at its finest! It’s in your DNA and you won’t even accept it!
But while I’m here, got any key terms in economics for me? Marginal Cost, maybe? Wanna explain me to how backwards induction works?
Showalter with Venable as bench coach. Another ex-Padre with brains… Pre-AJ Preller-era player.
Showalter 1 season to right the ship. Maybe a second year if they do really well.
They’d have to get permission from the Cubs for Will Venable.
I’ll write in Pete Rose.
Let’s bring it back around full circle and hire JOEY CORA! 😉
Jim Crane’s gonna put on a uniform and manage the team himself
Should be me. I’m smartest
Billy Gibbons would be a great fit.