When the Astros fired manager Brad Mills back in August, many fans asked… why now? My question was… what took you so long? The firing of Mills was a means to an end. Today that end was reached when the Astros announced Bo Porter will be the team’s next manager. Why now? Because the timing is right- dare I say perfect?
The Astros canned Mills at a time that would allow them to hand-pick his successor; a time when no other MLB teams were in the market for a new field General. It was almost as if the Astros had yet another first pick in the draft, only this time it was the managerial draft.
Jeff Luhnow and company went to work immediately, squarely focused on the task at hand. Tim Bogar? Dave Martinez? Porter? Ausmus? Any team in need would be happy to have either of these men as their manager. The Astros were now in a position to hire whoever they wanted.
Forty days after dismissing Mills, Porter emerged as the team’s top choice and the Astros had their man. The process was completed on the same day the Cleveland Indians fired manager Manny Acta. Coincidence? I think not. Perfect. Timing. Astros.
Now what may be a coincidence is the fact that Mills and Acta were both hired prior to the 2010 season- and many fans thought the Astros should have hired Acta then. But the Indians beat them to the punch. Lesson learned. No one was going to beat the Astros to the punch this time around.
Sure, both Mills and Acta went down in flames in a little less than three seasons and Bo Porter could do the same. It’s literally impossible to tell. But the Astros made sure to get a jump on the competition and increase their odds of making the right choice.
Cleveland won’t be the only team looking for a new manager this off-season. Rumor has it that the Marlins are ready to dismiss their outspoken skipper Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine will almost certainly be fired in Boston. The Astros were wise to make their move before teams with larger purse-strings became part of the equation. Actually, those teams were going to be in the equation all along but Jeff Luhnow was smart enough to anticipate that.
Whether or not Bo Porter can turn the Astros into a legitimate threat in the American League remains to be seen. One thing is certain: he won’t be able to do it alone. Luhnow has already hinted that the coaching staff will continue to be upgraded. Who’s next? Stay tuned to CTH to find out.