The Houston Astros have a big decision ahead of them this off-season. With Dusty Baker deciding to retire, Houston has to nail their next hire. While Baker had his fair share of blind spots and poor decision making, he was a cultural dream and brought stability when it was desperately needed.
Houston made four straight trips to the ALCS under Baker--no small feat. While he made some truly terrible lineup and bullpen decisions in the ALCS, that they again made it after their season filled with adversity cannot be overlooked.
The Astros won one World Series, two pennants and made three consecutive trips to the LCS under A.J. Hinch, before winning one world series, two pennants, and four consecutive LCS trips under Baker.
Whoever the Astros hire next has big shoes to fill. Enter the biggest name on the managerial market: Craig Counsell.
According to the Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Astros have finally expressed interest in Craig Counsell as they continue their manager search. Hogg did say it is unkown how serious the Astros would pursue Counsell.
Astros rumored to be interested in Craig Counsell
Counsell would be a monster splash for Jim Crane and the Astros. We listed Counsell as a potential replacement for Baker, and said that if Crane takes a home run swing on his hire, Counsell is the one to take.
The three-time runner-up for NL Manager of the Year guided the small market Brewers to the postseason six times in nine seasons. He's expected to land a monster contract, with the Mets and Guardians both already interested in his services, as well as Milwaukee hoping to bring him back.
He obviously won't come cheaply, but neither do World Series championships. Houston has built a power where winning is the standard. Jeff Luhnow and his lieutenants built one of the best rosters ever aseembled, and James Click tacked on from there. Winning is now the norm.
As those players have continued to move on elsewhere and the farm system has gotten more depleted, it's now time for Jim Crane to spend if he wants to continue winning. Spending the money to lan Craig Counsell would be one of the best moves Houston can make this offseason.