Houston Astros should hire Lance Berkman as bench coach
By Eric Huysman
Should the Houston Astros reach out to Lance Berkman about the opening at bench coach?
While the bench coach for any major league baseball is not really a big deal, the Houston Astros need one. As was reported this weekend, Trey Hillman has accepted a managerial job in Korea. Hillman said that he didn’t take the decision lightly, weighing all the options before leaving Houston after two seasons. Now the Astros have a hole to fill on the coaches staff.
Hiring a quality bench coach is essential to any manager because that person will be his right-hand man. There can be between five and ten assistant coaches on the roster, but none have the influence of the bench coach. But the bench coaches responsibility goes beyond filling in for the manager if they get thrown out or can’t manage.
There are many things for the manager to consider throughout the course of the game. This role is even bigger with the Astros when you consider the analytics way of thinking. Double shifting is a common place for many baseball teams. They look at scouting reports and help the manager keep track of pitch counts and more than I could ever mention.
The biggest role of the bench coach is just to be there for the manager, to offer advice. The final decision rests with the manager, but the bench coach always has his ears. Communication is also a big key of the bench coach as they help relay signs to fielders or hitters. Imagine the conversation as a back and forth Dawson’s Creek conversation, breaking down every little detail of the game.
So you need to have someone who knows baseball, likes to talk, and is not afraid to say what’s on his mind. That person sounds like former Astro Lance Berkman. In his retirement, he has become the head coach over at Second Baptist High School. He has teamed up with Andy Pettitte to lead his team to the state championship.
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Berkman has a prominent place in the history of the Astros as part of the Killer B’s in the World Series run of 2005. The hometown Berkman has the personality to fit in the Stros locker room. This would also bring some of the old-time feel to the Astros dugout. I’m not sure if he would even be interested in it, he could enjoy coaching the kids. But the Astros should look into it.
We could maybe welcome back Adam Everett or Tim Bogar as well, but Berkman would be a splashy move. Even though he wouldn’t leave his current job, former scout Jeremy Booth, of Program 15 would be a dark horse candidate in my eyes. Whoever the Astros hire could decide the success for 2017 and beyond.
Next: Astros Rumors: Will Pat Neshek become trade bait?
I know that normally people have to pay their dues through the coaching ranks. How into analytics is Berkman? Is it something that he would enjoy? I’m not sure it would happen but would be kind of cool if it did. Lance, if you read this, come on Talking Stros soon.