Tom Lawless (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Astros are playing terrific baseball right now. They have won 8 of their last 10 games (including four straight series) and are now 54-55 since May 10th. Last night, Nick Tropeano won his major league debut vs. the Mariners and All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve collected his 200th hit (he is now just 10 short of Craig Biggio‘s single-season franchise record.)
While Altuve and his teammates have earned this day off to relax, general manager Jeff Luhnow will be busy. The Astros are still in the process of searching for their next manager and Luhnow wants to take advantage of the next couple weeks to make headway in the process. He recently told Evan Drellich of The Houston Chronicle that the organization is leaning toward hiring a manager with prior experience.
"“We want major league experience as manager or major league experience as the bench coach. We are looking for that type of experience,” Luhnow said. “We’re working on it every day.”"
Although no interviews have taken place yet, the Astros have definitely started to put together a list of possible candidates and a few of them may even get introduced to the media later on in the process. Right now, pitching coach Brent Strom is the only member of the Astros coaching staff who is signed through next season, so major changes could be coming in the few weeks.
There has been a lot of speculation about who the Astros could have interest in and who would be a good fit. A lot of different names have come up as possible candidates, and some of these may not even in the discussion, but here is my attempt to put together a list of every name linked to the job so far (in alphabetical order):
In my opinion, I think the team definitely needs to keep Strom on as the pitching coach, so it will be interesting to see if that hurts the candidacy of guys like Maddux. Also, Lawless has done a nice job since taking over at the beginning of the month for Bo Porter, so the organization has to be impressed with his performance. (He is 6-2 since with three AL West series wins.) However, I think it would take a lot for him to convince the Astros to keep him on as the long-term solution. Luhnow understands the importance of this next hire to the organization’s future and he won’t risk giving it to Lawless unless he has to.
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Right now, and it’s still early, I like Torey Lovullo and Dave Martinez the most out of the reported names. Both bench coaches are a part of organization’s that are somewhat similar to the Astros and both have been learning a lot from two great managers. I’m sure a lot of these reported candidates won’t even be considered by the Astros, but I think both Lovullo and Martinez make sense as top candidates and either one would be a really good hire.
Now, tell me what you think. Did I leave anybody off the list? Who is your early favorite to be the next Astros manager?