Astros Rumors: Joe Espada's 'communication issues' to spur managerial change?

This could get worse before it gets better.
Houston Astros manager Joe Espada
Houston Astros manager Joe Espada / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Houston Astros have a number of problems. Injuries have crushed any hope of Houston getting out of the gates quickly, and the struggles from highly-paid players like Josh Hader and Jose Abreu have derailed the Astros during the first seven weeks of the 2024 campaign.

But how much is new manager Joe Espada to blame for the Astros' sluggish start? According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, at least two prominent Astros players have privately expressed complaints about Espada’s communication skills in recent weeks.

The fact that this information was leaked is troubling, to say the least, but it's also not surprising. When contending teams begin to struggle, there's always a need for a scapegoat, and it would appear that Espada has drawn the ire, not only of the Astros fanbase, but of some players as well. Will his tenure as the head man in H-Town be rather abbreviated?

Astros Rumors: Joe Espada's 'communication issues' to lead to managerial change in offseason?

Nightengale reported that the Astros have every intention to allow Espada to receive a fair shake. Given the number of injuries incurred by the pitching staff this season, it's incredibly unfair to judge Espada's job objectively. That said, once complaints arise in the clubhouse, the only thing that's going to cure that is winning.

The Astros have at least leapfrogged the Los Angeles Angels and have emerged from the AL West cellar. That's not saying much, however, as Houston is still 10 games below .500. But with the Seattle Mariners only three games above .500, it's not as if the Astros face an impossible task. Houston is just 6.5 games back of Seattle in the AL West standings.

Two possible replacements for Espada are current Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora and Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker, per Nightengale's report. Espada could silence all these rumors if his team is able to rattle off some wins in the coming weeks.

The Astros are 5-5 in their last 10 games and have a 10-game homestand on tap with visits from the Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers and Angels. During that same timeframe, the Mariners have 10 games against the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

With a four-game series against the Mariners set for the end of the month, Espada and the Astros could put themselves in prime position before the calendar flips to June. But if the Astros stumble, Espada's seat could get significantly hotter.

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