Suddenly, arguably the best team in major league baseball is in the market for a new manager.
The vacancy comes via the fallout from MLB’s findings that the Houston Astros stole catcher signs via a video screen in centerfield during their World Series winning season in 2017, along with the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the entire season as punishment on Monday. Astros owner Jim Crane took things a step further, firing both individuals in a move that shocked the baseball world.
Now the Astros are in scramble mode less than a month away from spring training, and need to work quickly to either promote from within or hire outsiders for the openings. If they elect to do the later, former Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s name has already been thrown out, especially after he hinted at a return to managing almost immediately after “retiring” this season.
At this point, it’s anybody’s guess if Boch would actually be willing to make his return just a few months removed from his supposedly final game, but Tim Kurkjian of ESPN believes he would be a good hire for the Astros if the skipper is interested.
“My guess is they’re going to stay inside on this, but the Astros are in big trouble right now and they need to look as quickly as possible for the best possible candidate,” Kurkjian told Murph & Mac Tuesday morning. “Yes I think someone like Bruce Bochy or Buck Showalter or Dusty Baker or some really revered veteran manager who is going to bring some stability and some credibility immediately, I think that wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.”
Still, Kurkjian believes an internal candidate is most likely.
“My guess is, and we are way ahead of ourselves here, Joe Espada is with that club, he’s interviewed with a bunch of teams before, he’s very highly regarded. My guess is that he would be certainly a leading candidate. So my guess is they’ll stay inside but after what Jim Crane did yesterday I think all bets are off.”