Though they are 48-99 and will finish with the worst record in Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros are an appealing team for many managerial candidates. First-year general manager Jeff Luhnow, supported by new owner Jim Crane, has unloaded a variety of costly veterans who are not part of the club’s long-term plans and acquired a multitude of promising prospects as Houston prepares for its move to the American League West in 2013.
Earlier this summer, Luhnow dismissed manager Brad Mills and is currently searching for a replacement. Among the candidates who have been interviewed are interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, former Major League manager Larry Bowa, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter. This week, the Astros announced they will interview Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar while the team is in St. Petersburg playing the Tampa Bay Rays, for which Bogar served as a coach under Joe Maddon in 2008.
Baseball News Source detailed the series of moves that Luhnow has made this season. In multiple trades over the course of 2012, the Astros have brought in several promising minor leaguers, including former first round picks Matt Dominguez, Joseph Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski; and former second rounder Rob Rasmussen.
Last year, Houston landed highly regarded first base prospect Jonathan Singleton and in 2010 the club traded for power-hitting corner infielder Brett Wallace. Currently, Wallace (.262, seven home runs, 18 RBI, 183 at-bats while primarily playing first base) and Dominguez (.292, four home runs, 12 RBI, 65 at-bats while mostly playing third base) are getting prolonged looks at the Major League level after late season call-ups.
Along with the players Houston has acquired in traded over the few years, they also have promising 24-year-old outfielder J.D. Martinez and 22-year-old second baseman (and Houston’s lone 2012 All-Star) Jose Altuve on the major league active roster as well as 22-year-old outfielder George Springer (listed by MLB.com as the organization’s third best prospect and No. 45 on Baseball America’s Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects List), 2012 first overall pick Carlos Correa (a shortstop who is the club’s second-best prospect according to MLB.com), and 2010 first round pick Delino DeShields Jr. (an exciting 20-year-old second baseman who stole 101 bases at Single-A this season).
Because of his time under Maddon and the youthful Rays, and his popularity among Red Sox players as the bench coach under the disliked Bobby Valentine, Bogar could be an ideal candidate to manage an Astros team that will be stocked with young talent over the next few seasons.