Houston Astros

Houston Astros looking at set of veteran managers to replace AJ Hinch

In their now ramped up search to permanently replace AJ Hinch, the Houston Astros seem to be leaning toward experienced managerial candidates.

After AJ Hinch was suspended for a year due to his role in a extensive sign-stealing operation, the Houston Astros had no real choice but to follow up quickly by firing him. Bench coach Joe Espada was immediately named interim manager, which seemed to put an end to any idea they would have an exhaustive search for Hinch’s replacement right now.

But as some might say, not so fast.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com and others, Buck Showalter interviewed with Astros’ owner Jim Crane on Wednesday and former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is slated to do the same on Thursday. McTaggart added Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, former Rangers manager Jeff Banister, Cubs third base coach Will Venable and Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibanez to the list of possible candidates for the Astros which also includes Espada.

Espada joined Hinch’s coaching staff in 2018, and appears to have not been implicated as others have been for the sign-stealing situation that seems strictly focused on the Astros’ World Series-winning 2017 season.

After Hinch oversaw a serious stretching of the general rules of good faith and fair play to gain an edge, the Astros can’t be blamed for tilting toward managerial candidates who are inherently regarded as old school.

But Bochy can apparently be scratched from the list of candidates already.

Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reported the goal for the Astros is to complete searches for a new manager and general manager by Feb. 1. So whatever happens, it will happen pretty quickly as the Astros look to move forward and put the stain of the sign-stealing punishments behind them. New faces in two prominent positions will help, led by what looks sure to be an experienced, steady, non-boundary pushing, no-frills hand in the dugout.

Next: Projecting the Twins lineup with Josh Donaldson

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