When it comes to the new Astros manager, who may not be as important as what

In between their spats of anger about “IT” fans have been using their peripheral vision to track the stories about who the Astros are bringing in to interview for their open manager’s spot and who else they are considering.

We know they have talked to experienced managers Buck Showalter, John Gibbons and dusted the cobwebs off Dusty Baker. It has been written that they will bring in old Rangers nemesis Jeff Banister and newbie Eduardo Perez and rumor has it another newbie Will Venable may get an interview. Bench coach Joe Espada (who may or may not be tainted by the scandal) has been mentioned and of course, some folks would love them some Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell for A.J. Hinch’s open spot.

But perhaps who is not as important a question as to what when it comes to the new manager.

  • What is Jim Crane thinking at this point?
  • What power will this new manager have?
  • What oversight will this manager have from a GM who is likely to be chosen after he has been chosen?
  • What say (if any) does MLB have on this hiring?
  • What difference will this make in the long run to the success of the club?

This will be the third manager hiring that will occur under owner Jim Crane. The first hiring was the ill-fated Bo Porter, who seemed to spend too much time throwing his players under the bus (and then driving it over them) and who likely was a little too old school to mesh with the Astros 21st-century nerd cave. Crane then was involved with the hiring of A.J. Hinch, which seemed like a brilliant choice until the hay in the barn caught fire with him and Jeff Luhnow inside. So what is Jim Crane thinking here? Do they really need a get tough, old school manager to “control” these players? Does anybody think after what has just happened and the personal bullets the players dodged that they really need to be told to toe the line on cheating? Will Jim make a choice that is more in alignment with the modern nerd cave he already owns or will he make an old school choice that might rein in that part of the organization?

What kind of power will the new manager have? The feeling from what has been leaked about Hinch destroying monitors rather than confronting his players is that he did not necessarily feel he had power over the players. Will the new manager be more of a figurehead, who like Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own” pops out of the dugout to wave his hat and smile at the masses? Will the manager be there to oversee the players or will he be looking over his shoulder at the front office and possibly the MLB personnel overseeing him?

Since the GM is likely hired second and will not be involved in the hunt for the manager – does that signal that these two areas of the club will be separate, but equal? Will they both report to Crane rather than the manager reporting to the GM, who reports to the owner?

There is already suspicion that is more than a conspiracy theory that MLB reached an agreement with Jim Crane ahead of time on the suspension followed by the firing of both Luhnow and Hinch. Does MLB have a say (beyond diversity issues) on who Crane interviews and eventually who he hires?

How this works out for the club in the long run is the real question here. Most competent managers should do pretty well with the type of club that the Astros will be this season. A heck of a lot of talent with a huge chip on their shoulder sounds like a formula for a good season. But since the manager is not the GM’s pick, there might be some bumpy roads down the way if they are not in or near synch on personnel and their use. How will they make this team a sustainable juggernaut? Can they regain the confidence of their fan base and can they bury a past that will be dug up at every venue along the way?

We all want to hear who will be named the manager of the Astros. But what went into that decision and what it means down the line may be the more critical points.


24 comments on “When it comes to the new Astros manager, who may not be as important as what

  1. If Putila is going to be the GM, then he is already deeply involved in the process of hiring a manager.
    I have nothing against Showalter except that he last managed in Baltimore, where there wasn’t even an analytics dept.
    I don’t want Bannister because of his experience with the Rangers.
    I think Baker is not going to be a good fit.
    Venable says he’s not going to be leaving Chicago.
    I voted for Ibanez in the MLBTR poll.
    Perez is bilingual, younger, is familiar with the organization, is familiar with media because he has been the media. Hoping that he blows away the Astros in his interview. He also has no connection to the scandal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am not too sure that the decision for manager and GM have not already been made. I don’t think firing AJ and JL was a knee jerk reaction the day the info came from the commissioner. I have no idea who the two will be, but I think all the interviewing is just “eye wash.”


    • And the answer to my previous post about “Duke Keomuka.” He was the villain wrestler back in black and white TV days in Houston. People came to the matches just to boo him and cheer for whoever was wrestling him. Could be Pepper Gomez, or Lou Thesz, or Leaping Larry Shain, or even Paul Boesch. Whoever it was, was cheered and Duke Keomuka was always booed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The only manager I would REALLY not want is Bannister. He showed me everything I needed to know when he was with the arlington little league.
    Perez is VERY good friends with Cora, and there’s some speculation that he would not be able to get out of a big contract with ESPN. Speaking of ESPN, I saw a short video interview with Buster Olney, who almost with “glee” that he was sure opposing pitcher would deliberately hit our guys with a pitch. I guess he doesn’t realize that a pitcher could (and has Spinger) break a wrist, or worse nearly *KILL* someone by hitting them in the head. What a peach of a guy.
    My vote (if it counts) is on Gibby. He has a steady hand to keep things from boiling over in the clubhouse, and not misuse the pitching staff like Baker is so fond to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with Becky. Anyone but Bannister. I have relatives in the Dallas area, so I know how the fans up there hated the way he handled the Rangers.
    It’s apparent Hinch, for what ever reason, was unable to control his dugout. We need a strong personality to keep these guys in order. But at the same time, a manager they can like and respect.
    That’s a tall order to fill.
    These guys are looking at a tough situation. Crane was quoted today explaining how they would get together and pick a spokesperson from the team to apologize to the fans.
    I hate what Cora and Beltrán brought to our city. I hate the way Manfred handled the whole thing.
    The last thing I want to see is our proud team humbled.


  5. Here is what Crane said about the apology
    I would love to be a fly on the wall in that clubhouse meeting. “You go / no you go / no we all go….” This sounds like something a high school principal would say after they caught some of the kids vandalizing the school. “They will get up in front of everybody at the pep rally and apologize” i don’t think this will sweep it all behind them and allow them to move on – but what the heck.


  6. The managerial position could be intriguing. I like the idea of Perez – from his playing days to the broadcasting booth he’s proven to be someone who goes to great lengths to prepare for the job at hand each day. I wonder if he’d be willing to take this job. On one hand, when would you inherit a team with more talent and potential to win right now? On the other, the media is insistent every visiting dugout will be an uncomfortable place this year. Also, some of our contracts are worrisome for what 2021 will look like.


  7. The first manager Jim Crane hired, Bo Porter, was a first time manager. The second one, A.J. Hinch had managing experience (not very good experience0 and front office experience. Were they chosen because they were younger? Were they Luhnow preferences? Were they chosen because they could be hired cheaply?
    I think the key thing here is whether Crane feels like he needs an experience hand at the wheel for the good will and gravitas this person would bring to the team. Has MLB given him some “encouragement” on acceptable choices. Again we don’t know.
    But this whole “apology” thing shows me that Crane will be a lot more hands on – at least early on – to help get this ship sailing again.
    Is that a good thing? Well as long as he is not a Jerry Jones who thinks he is as good a GM as is an owner – we should be OK. I think the GM choice will be as intriguing or more so.


  8. It would really benefit the Astros if Manfred released his report on Alex Cora.
    The sooner the better. I wonder if any of these guys have seen Hinch yet. My bet is they have because they absolutely loved the man.


  9. Now comes the report that MLB gave players immunity since Luhnow did not advise them of Manfred’s 2017 memo about sign stealing. Somehow it all makes sense, but how could Luhnow keep that under wraps?


  10. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/Jim-Crane-Astros-players-likely-to-issue-strong-14993510.php

    I promised I would no longer comment on “IT.” Put my occupation down as “Politician” so I did not lie, but misspoke, was not forthcoming, came upon new facts, and am slightly deviating from the truth.

    The dumbest thing the Astros did the past few months was basically saying the women at the celebration were liars. But that will IMMEDIATELY be replaced if any “everyday player” goes to Spring Training and “apologizes.” That will be admitting he cheated, which he may have, but every newspaper, twitter follower, and MLB TV talking head will want him banned for life. The only reasonable person to be the spokesman is a pitcher. At some point, the Astros have to just shut up and take their lumps. They are not going to get forgiveness from anyone. PERIOD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think as long as you’ve stopped inhaling, it’s okay.

      A full disclosure type apology will do nothing but fan the flames again.

      A vague, guarded apology will do nothing but fan the flames again.

      Shut up and let the Cora investigation take center stage.


  11. The thought of a public apology by the players gives me the creeps.
    I would rather be traded.
    The trial is over and the sentence has been announced.
    Shut up and play baseball. They should not say anything.
    If I were a player and was asked to publicly apologize I would file a grievance with my union reps.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Here’s my take on apologies for “it”…..Choose one veteran player to talk about “it”. Give the media the chance to ask questions, and when that is over, tell them no more questions about “it”. No names of who did this, I see no value in putting their names out there. The reason for that would prompt the guy would get hit everytime he comes to bat. This will stain this organization for a very long time. Not until every guy who is currently on this team have either left baseball, will the boos stop. Becky⚾


    • I agree whole-hardheartedly with you Becky. I think it redundant to have each player come up and apologize. It really does no good in the short or long run. As you said the team should appoint a spokesperson to come and read a statement from the players acknowledging their participation in the scheme, apologizing , and letting it go from there. This is not going to go away any time soon. What irks me is that there was never this much outrage over the steroids scandal, or pitchers who were caught using foreign substance, or other clubs or players who did the same thing. As Val Kilmer (Doc Holiday) in Tombstone said, “My hypocrisy knows no bounds.” Or to put it in a Biblical text, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.


  13. Do you folks think this will effect Carlos Beltran’s chance of making the HOF?
    How about Verlander and any guy currently playing when his playing days are over..ie, Altuve, Correa, Bregman? Getting the ring is the crowning glory of baseball…..I would hate that “it” would take that chance away from these guys.
    McCullers had an interesting interview yesterday. Becky⚾


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