The Astros extend A.J. Hinch until after the 2022 season
By Eric Huysman
The only World Series-winning manager, AJHinch, in Astros franchise gets his contract extended through the 2022 season.
After yesterday’s Astros 5-4 win over the Athletics on Tyler White’s walk-off homer, a press conference was set for 3 pm today. According to Mark Berman, it was to announce A.J. Hinch’s contract extension. After leading the Astros to the 2017 World Series, Hinch is once again guiding the team to the third best record in baseball with a run differential of +221 via MLB.com. This did come true as his contract was extended to four years after this season.
As every great manager knows, you will always have the haters. Will the manager make every move that fans want him to make? No, we have all seem all the second-guessing on Twitter. Hinch has more information to make his decisions than his fans do, so I’ll trust the expert. Despite all the information, things don’t always work in your favor.
When the Astros hired Hinch, it was a semi-risky move at the time.
His first go-around as the Diamondback’s interim manager didn’t go as well as he hoped. As he told a group of bloggers back in 2015 (me included), he learned a lot from what happened in Arizona. He said he wanted to allow the players to be themselves as long as they performed. To show how things have changed, I remember him talking about Jon Singleton and how he kept his top jersey buttons open.
During today’s press conference, Jeff Luhnow mentioned that he hired Hinch because of his experience as a manager, front office member, and former 25th player on the roster. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the press conference, it was probably also because he believed in the analytics that the team was using. Bottom line, the team took off and were a few outs from advancing to the ALCS in his first year.
Hinch is part (but important) of the puzzle for the Astros success.
Hinch also returned the praise to Luhnow, saying that the players he has acquired have helped him become a better manager. When Luhnow hired Hinch, he told him that he would be the manager when the Astros won their first World Series. Maybe Luhnow believed in the organization’s plan, or it was tongue in cheek after Ben Reiter’s prediction article. Either way, they got the job done and seek a few more in the near future.
The Astros are 82-51 looking to top their franchise high in wins. Under Hinch’s management since 2015, the team has 353 wins and only 266 losses via Baseball-Reference. Their depth has been challenged in 2018 with various injuries to some of the top players. Unlike many fans, Hinch did not press the panic button during their August swoon. This team is built to win, and Hinch has had a big hand in the success. It’s still funny to check out what the Idiot Hinch Twitter handle says from time to time.
Hinch had an option for the 2019 season. It was assumed that he would be the manager for the foreseeable future, but they wanted to reward him with the extra three years. Hinch did get a raise as well, but Chandler Rome reported that those numbers were not revealed. They typically aren’t. Now Hinch has the peace of mind to focus on each game, not what his future holds.
Why not extend him for longer than after the 2022 season? Luhnow’s contract was extended to 2023. This would give them an opportunity to re-evaluate Hinch should the window of winning ends before then. What else can you ask for from Hinch? How about juggling a loaded roster. I’m excited to play the Angels, but the team can’t look past them. Hinch knows this more than anyone. Glad that they did this for the only World Series-winning manager in franchise history.