The Astros won’t be this terrible forever, it is nearly impossible, and they do have a core of potential good young players in both the big leagues and minor leagues that give hope for the future. In the meantime, with Bo Porter fired, Houston needs a new major league manager.
Who wants the job? My guess is no one.
Right after Bo Porter was hired I was told he was the only candidate who answered "yes" to the question, "Are you OK with influence from the front office in every day decisions like setting the lineup?" There was a reason he was the only one who said yes, no one wants to manage a major league team where they are told what to do by someone who has never played the game or even done the job.
There is balance here. Influences from front offices are part of the new equation in baseball and the game is smarter because of it. Clint Hurdle told me the Pirates utilize a sort of hybrid theory and it is working well in Pittsburgh. He is open to advanced metrics, he listens, he gets it and he and the front office work well together to implement the new school of thought.
There is one essential caveat though, he makes the final in-game decisions, including lineups and he is never second-guessed on those decisions. The Pirates trust their major league manager. He has to lead 25 men, he has to get them to be their best for him every game. Both he and his players cannot ever be questioned or second-guessed by the people above them.
General manager Jeff Lunhow and the Astros have a problem. They have created the perception that they want to control everything. It doesn’t work well that way and never has. Communicate, delegate and trust, they must all happen for a system to be productive.
The Astros need two managers. One right now who is not competitive and will do whatever the front office tells him while they’re still losing. Then they’ll need one when they get good who is ultra competitive and has the track record to tell the front office to back off. Of course that guy will go through the interview process and immediately withdraw his name.
Something has to change or this will be the beginning of a cycle that never ends in Houston.