Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch might be fit for Los Angeles Dodgers, but.
The Houston Astros had a bounce back season in 2015 behind the new manager A.J. Hinch. While he did have some experience with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009-10 seasons as the interim manager, this was the first season that Hinch was given the entire season as manager. He became the manager of the Diamondbacks in 2009, managing the last 133 games with a record of 58-75. He started 2010 off as the manager, but only managed 79 games that year according to Baseball-Reference.
He had never been able to start what he finished or finish what he started, until 2015. He started 2015 as the Astros manager with very little expectations but was able to give Astros’ fans a taste of what the future holds for them. Hinch is most likely staying in Houston, but I wanted to offer a different take on the speculation.
In 2015, Hinch led an Astros team that lost 92 games last season to win 86 games a year later and make the playoffs. While Jeff Bannister did wonders with the Texas Rangers in 2015, however, they have not been as bad as the Astros had been for five years. People are starting to notice what Hinch did with the Astros this year, and there is a chance that he can be the American League Manager of the Year. While it can be argued as to how much luck had to do with the Astros playoff run versus Hinch’s managing skills, nothing can take away the 86-76 record and playoff run.
Hinch appears ready to pick up where he left off in 2015 with the Astros, but a tempting managing position has just opened up with Don Mattingly being relieved of his duty from the Los Angelas Dodgers. Astros media has speculated if Hinch has the characteristics of a manager that they are looking for their next skipper. He has a way of working with the younger players, which is what the Dodgers have in store for the next manager.
If it were up to Dodgers president Andrew Friedman, he would hire a guy he knows he can work with in Gabe Kapler. According to Ken Rosenthal, he would be surprised if anyone else besides Kapler is named manager. However, today Buster Olney wrote that the skill the next Dodgers manager will need is what Hinch does best. He will have to be okay with the front offices making some of the calls based on sabermetrics, which is something that Mattingly appeared to have issues with. Olney did not say that Hinch is being considered for the job but said that Kapler or whoever gets the job will have to be flexible like Hinch.
Some managers have not bought into the sabermetrics, but Hinch has been a believer in the statistical approach to managing. However, as with probability, the desired outcome from the theoretical outcome is not always the same as the experimental results. The more you do the experiment, the more likely the theoretical probability will meet the experimental probability. That’s what sabermetrics is looking at, which is why sometimes things don’t work out like planned in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the ALDS. The way Hinch managed the bullpen as a whole was good, don’t focus too much on that one time. Enough math, the Astros and Dodgers have a similar way of thinking despite a drastically different payrolls.
The Dodgers would have to to get permission from the Astros to even discuss the position with Hinch. Hinch has many former contacts currently in the Dodgers organization, but he appears to be happy in Houston. While you might be wondering how long Hinch’s contract is, you are not alone, no one but Hinch and the Astros front office knows how long his contract is according to Evan Drellich.
With the success the Astros had, coming within six outs of making it to the Championship Series versus the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS, I think it will be really hard for Hinch to walk away from something that he helped build. It would be similar to a college coach recruiting a player to their university and then accepts another college job somewhere else. Yes, it happens a lot in college sports, but that leaves a bitter taste in that player’s mouth after saying you would take care of them. Hinch is smart enough to see the talent that will join the team in the next few years; he is not going anywhere.
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As Astros fans, let’s take this speculation as a compliment to what is happening at Minute Maid Park under Hinch’s leadership. Has he made some head-scratching moves? Yes, there was some discussion on how he handled the bullpen in 2015 playoffs. However, most of the time Hinch had the magic working in his decision making with the Astros finishing with a winning record. Look for Hinch to build a home here with the Stros and be with the team during this their current era of dominance with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer leading the way.
Hinch is still the manager of the Houston Astros, and hopefully he will be one of those who last a while with one organization. The players seem to like him, he doesn’t act like Bill O’Brien, and he appears to know baseball. He has built an atmosphere where the Astros players enjoy it as well as stay focused on winning.
Is he perfect? No, but he is perfect for this team. I knew I liked this guy when I met him at the Bloggers Roundtable, can’t wait till the next one in January at Fan Fest. Hinch is not going anywhere, the speculation is coming mostly from the Houston reporters.