It is another offseason, and Astros’ coach Joe Espada is back in managerial rumors.
In 2020, Jim Crane and the Houston Astros let go manager A.J. Hinch in the light of the sign stealing scandal from 2017. Consequently, general manager Jeff Luhnow was also fired, leaving the Astros with two vacancies.
Crane could have turned to bench coach Joe Espada, one of Hinch’s assistants, but he went with the experienced Dusty Baker, a player’s manager. Like Alex Cora, now again the Boston Red Sox manager, Espada has been sought by other organizations in the past. But, he has never left the Astros.
Now, it is a new offseason, and Espada’s name is back into conversation of vacant managerial spots. This time Jon Heyman of MLB Network name dropped Espada in a group of coaches for the New York Mets’ job.
Of the list, Heyman also mentioned former Astros’ catcher, Brad Ausmus, but identified Buck Showalter as the most qualified. Though, Espada has ties to general manager Billy Eppler from their time with the New York Yankees.
Espada, now 46-years-old, has yet to be a manager at the major-league level, while being a coach since 2010. He was with the Miami Marlins and the Yankees, before stumbling into Houston in 2018.
After the 2018 season, Espada interviewed for the Texas Rangers’ managerial job but was not selected. The following year, he was a frontrunner for the Chicago Cubs’ job but finished second to David Ross, one of the franchise’s 2016 heroes.
It would behoove the Astros to keep a great baseball mind like Espada in the dugout, especially with his knowledge on fielding. But if the opportunity arises in New York, how can you say no?
Espada would be the best option to succeed Baker, who was the Manager of the Year by Baseball America, if the Astros were to part with him after the 2022 season, but it looks to be another winter where Espada will flirt with the idea of leaving.
The last time the Mets embarked on signing an Astros’ name was with Carlos Beltran before the 2020 season. They parted ways with Beltran, after the sign stealing scandal broke.
Other Astros’ coaching news:
This past week the Astros hired a new director of player development, Sara Goodrum. Goodrum was recently a minor-league hitting coordinator for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Minor-league hitting coach Jose Puentes is returning to the organization but with the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers. Puentes was with the Dominican Summer League Astros in 2020 and the Florida Coast League Astros in 2021.