The Astros are making a pair of in-house promotions, as FOX 26’s Mark Berman reports (via Twitter) that Charles Cook and Bill Firkus are each being promoted to assistant general manager. Cook was the senior director of player evaluation and has been a member of the organization since 2016, while Firkus has been with the Astros since 2013, taking a unique path to the assistant GM role. Firkus began with the team as a medical analyst and then worked as the Astros’ director of sports medicine and performance from 2015-19 before moving into his job as the senior director of baseball strategy.
Firkus and fellow assistant GM Andrew Ball are also now temporarily running Houston’s front office until a replacement for James Click can be found, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Under Click, the Astros had two AGMs in Ball and Scott Powers, though Powers was fired yesterday shortly after news broke that Click wouldn’t be returning as the general manager. It is possible that the promotions of two long-time employees in Cook and Firkus might be a step towards also ousting Ball, who previously worked with Click in Tampa Bay and has only been with the Astros organization for less than a year. Regardless, there will continue to be plenty of controversy surrounding the World Series champions’ front office until a new president of baseball operations or GM is officially hired. [UPDATE: Firkus is the Astros’ current point person for any free agent talks, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi]
More from around baseball…
- The Blue Jays had interest in both Chris Martin and David Robertson prior to the trade deadline, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Both pitchers (then members of the Cubs) were shipped in separate trades to the Dodgers and Phillies, but Martin and Robertson are both free agents now and could possibly again be on Toronto’s radar. The bullpen meltdown in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series made the bullpen a particular need for the Jays, and to that end, Nicholson-Smith also tweets that Toronto was “very serious” about pursuing Robert Suarez in free agency. However, the Blue Jays didn’t get a chance to move on the righty, as the Padres retained Suarez on a five-year, $46MM deal before the free agent market officially opened for other teams’ negotiations.
- Even with Joey Bart as the Giants’ starting catcher and a number of other options competing for the backup job, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic hears that San Francisco is still on the lookout for more depth behind the plate. Dom Nunez and Meibrys Viloria were both recently added on waiver claims, putting them in line (for now) to compete with Austin Wynns in Spring Training. Of course, the Giants have made a habit of cycling through players at the back end of their roster, and there isn’t any guarantee this catching mix will last even beyond the November 15 deadline to set 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft.
- The Pirates are another team looking for catching help, though “in terms of resources, whether that’s financial resources or giving up talent, it’s probably not the top of our priority list,” GM Ben Cherington told The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel and other reporters. This would also put the Bucs in line for depth options, with a new catcher or two competing with Tyler Heineman, Ali Sanchez, and Jason Delay in camp. In the big picture, the Pirates are keeping the catching depth chart clear for top prospect Henry Davis, who made his Double-A debut last season. Davis is expected to reach Triple-A in 2023 and might be in line to arrive in the majors before the season is out, if all goes well.