HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Interim manager Tony DeFrancesco #11 makes his first appearance in an Astros uniform as he comes out of the lockeroom at Minute Maid Park on August 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It's been another busy week in Astros world.
Nobody is quite sure what 'it' is, but the consensus seems to be that whatever 'it' is, Brad Mills did not have it. He is a nice guy, and probably a decent manager with the right team, but this was not the right team. Just like Bobby Heck, Jeff Luhnow moved to get his guy in place. We'll see who his guy is in the next few days or weeks. Perhaps it is Joe Pettini, bench coach for the Astros, or maybe someone different. Bobby Meacham, you never really know with first base coaches. Mike Barnett was brought here after seeing Toronto and Kansas City up their patience. In April we were walking like hitting had gone out of fashion, but ever since our bats have been wretched.
J.D. Martinez has broke, I guess we still have two position players on the DL, Jordan Schafer has shown he isn't a major league hitter, and quite a lot else has gone wrong. Some has gone right. Chris Johnson and Carlos Lee were competent before their trades, as was Jed Lowrie before injury took him.
Tony DeFrancesco's abilities as a major league manager have yet to be determined, but he apparently delivers a big-league quality clubhouse speech.
Pitcher Bud Norris, who passes for a grizzled veteran on a young Astros roster, said Sunday he was energized by DeFrancesco's initial speech to the troops upon being named as the club's interim manager.
But I'm actually happy this happened. Not because I necessarily agree with it, but that it gives me a chance to talk about something different, rather than bashing the team for 600 words, which is what I have been doing for the past three months. And last week was one of our good weeks. Actually I'm surprised Ron Roenicke did not get the chop for losing to the Astros in two consecutive games.
But you know, Mills' contract was up at the end of the season and it was never going to be renewed by a new front office. Whether we miss out on our own personal Manny Acta again is yet to be seen. Perhaps this is why they fired him before the year was out, to be first in line when looking for new candidates.
The move seems to have created a lot of hubbub in baseball circles, but no one is actually quite sure why:
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN
Lots of anger around the sport this morning for the way HOU staff changes went down. The change not a surprise, but method was bloodless.
I'm pretty sure there is no good way to fire somebody. But let's just roll with it. Jon Heyman throws out Jim Riggleman, Joe Pettini and Chris Maloney. Pettini is the obvious one that everyone under the sun has mooted, even me, Riggleman is currently managing the Reds' Double-A affliate, and Maloney seems to fit the Brad Mills pattern of managerial hiring.
The only question, apart from who the new man is, is how did Dave Clark do it? Not that I fully subscribe to the view, but from what I hear, he is the coach most people would do away with first. Affectionately known as 'stop-sign' the third base coach has somehow avoided the latest putsch. A few suggestions from Twitter are:
Voodoo and the blood of a dozen sabermetricians.
My dad just said he's the only one left that knows the signs!
Might say something about him that he's still around.
Now lets just knuckle down and maybe we can win a few games. What'da ya say?