The Astros hunt for a manager appears to be coming to an end. According to Bob Nightengale, the Astros will be promoting their Bench Coach, Joe Espada, to manager on Monday. Espada has long been the frontrunner for the job, and after serving as the Bench Coach for six consecutive ALCS trips, three World Series trips, and one World Series title, he was very deserving.
Houston Astros to promote Joe Espada to manager
This decision was much more drawn out than it needed to be. Nightmare situations began emerging with the Astros linked to candidates such as Brad Ausmus. That Joe Espada is getting the position after receiving Dana Brown's vote of confidence is a very good sign.
The last few off-seasons in Houston have been tumultuous to say the least. We've seen a President of Baseball Ops fired after a sign-stealing scandal, a GM effectively fired after winning a World Series, a new GM hired only after the off-season decisions were made by the owner and a former player, and a manager retire. The behind the scenes power struggle between analytical minded front office staff and Jim Crane and his "baseball men" advisors like Jeff Bagwell has been overwhelmingly obvious.
That Brown's favorite got the nod over Jeff Bagwell's in his best friend, Brad Ausmus, is very encouraging. The Astros need to let the general manage assemble the roster and the staff. Owners own teams, GMs/Presidents build rosters. When owners try to do too much, chaos ensues. Look three hours up the road at what Jerry Jones thirst for power and decision-making did to the Cowboys.
Espada brings continuity from the Golden Era and has served under a more analytical manager in AJ Hinch, and an old school, gut feel manager in Dusty Baker. He should bring a blend of the two styles, and will help prolong the clubhouse culture that has been so carefully cultivated.
With a manager set to be announced, now the Astros need to get on with upgrading their roster.