Astros: Who will replace AJ Hinch as the next manager?
After owner Jim Crane dismissed manager AJ Hinch on Monday, the search for a new Astros manager officially begins. Who could be in consideration?
After the year-long suspension of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, the organization was already preparing to search for the next Astros manager. Now with the firing of both Hinch and Luhnow, that search becomes more long-term oriented.
With Spring Training right around the corner, the Astros need to conduct a rapid search for their next manager. But with a good number of former managers on the marker and an in-house rising star, the Astros should be able to land a quality manager before the start of the 2020 season. Even so, who should the organization be targeting for the next Astros manager?
At 63 years old, Showalter is one of the older candidates the Astros could be looking at. But with 20 years of managerial experience, Jim Crane could see his age as a bonus more than a blemish. Showalter could also use those years of experience to help steady an organization in turbulent times.
Showalter spent the majority of those 20 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, leading them to three postseason appearances in nine seasons. He also spent four years with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and three with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While his .506 career win percentage may not inspire much confidence, his longevity certainly does. Showalter also interviewed with the Angels and Phillies this offseason, so he definitely should be on Jim Crane’s radar.
After being named the interim manager in the wake of Hinch’s dismissal, Joe Espada will definitely be in contention for the job permanently. Espada already interviewed with the Giants and Cubs, so many around the league already view the 44-year-old as a potential MLB manager.
Espada has risen quickly among the ranks of young potential managers. From 2015-2016 Espada was the third base coach for the New York Yankees. Before that, he spent one season as a special assistant to the general manager, working closely with Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
His success with the Yankees led to Hinch hiring Espada to his staff in 2018. This is a key detail in Espada’s career with the Astros; he had no involvement in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal. That and his success with the Yankees and as Astros bench coach could put him at the top of Jim Crane’s list of manager candidates.
Perez may be the least likely of these candidates to get the job. But after six years of covering baseball for ESPN, the former coach and manager may want to get back into the game. And with ties to the Astros organization, he might be able to.
While being mostly known for his work with ESPN, Perez does have managerial experience. He spent the 2008 and 2009 season managing the Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Perez has also held a front-office role with the Cleveland Indians and spent part of the 2011 and 2012 season as the Miami Marlins hitting coach.
In his lone year in Houston, Perez served as Bo Porter‘s bench coach for the 2013 season. But with that being his last stint with an MLB organization, Perez may have been out of the game too long. That certainly didn’t stop the New York Mets from interviewing him. Neither did it stop Perez from impressing the Mets; he was one of two finalists for the job, losing out to Carlos Beltran.
Whoever Jim Crane selects to take over the reins for AJ Hinch, he will definitely have big shoes to fill. The new manager will also have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces and pulling this team together under difficult circumstances.