Results tagged ‘ Al Pedrique ’

Astros got it right with this coaching staff

It’s rather unusual to see a Major League coaching staff get multi-year deals, but the Astros felt so good about what they had in manager Brad Mills’ staff that they announced Saturday they had extended the contracts of the field staff by two years, though 2012.

The Astros will have to wait a couple of more weeks before hitting coach Jeff Bagwell tells them whether he wants to return, but Mills and general manager Ed Wade have put together a terrific coaching staff in Brad Arnsberg (pitching coach), Dave Clark (third-base coach), Bobby Meacham (first-base coach), Al Pedrique (bench coach) and Jamie Quirk (bullpen coach).

Not only do they have the respect of the players, but the group puts in long hours poring over advance scouting reports and in the video room before the players even arrive at the ballpark.

“I knew from basically July on we wanted to keep this group together,” Wade said. “I talked to [owner] Drayton [McLane] and [president of baseball operation] Tal [Smith about doing two-years and they see the same things I’ve seen and they’re very supportive of extending beyond this organization’s norm.

“If you look at coaches’ contracts, there’s not a lot of multi-year deals out there. There are some, but not the vast majority. To be able to do that with the entire unit sends a message to them that we appreciate the kind of work they’ve done and a message to the players, too, that there’s continuity and stability. With a younger group, that’s an important message to try to deliver.”

Don’t be surprised to see the Astros pick up Mills’ option for 2012. He’s under contract next year, but with his staff getting contracts through 2012, it only makes sense the manager gets the same deal.

 

Who would you pick to manage the Astros?

All the interviews and public press conferences are finished, and we know the Astros’ next manager will be one of 10 people. Some have extensive experience in the Majors, some have extensive experience in the Minors and all bring something different to the table.

The Astros were open with the first round of interviews, but now things change. Club officials are taking the search underground, with the next public announcement likely to be the hiring of a manager. GM Ed Wade has set no timetable and MLB doesn’t like announcements to coming during the World Series, so we might have to wait until November to find out who the manager is going to be.

No matter who the Astros pick, don’t expect a quick fix next year. The bottom line is it’s a broken roster that will take a few years to correct. There are too many older players — and  maybe even declining older players — making the lion’s share of the money without many young players coming up. That will change in a few years, but a new manager isn’t going to fix that.

What a new manager can fix is clubhouse chemistry. He can get everyone on the same page. He can get rid of the losing air that took over the clubhouse last year and get the Astros playing inspired baseball again. Let’s be honest. The final two months of the season, every Astros game was the same. They were down by five or six runs early and they’d hit into about three double plays. It was tough to watch.

I wasn’t in the interview room with Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith or assistant GMs Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck, so I don’t pretend to know how the interviews went or what they thought of certain guys. I can only tell you what I learned from my research about each guys’ background and what I heard in the 10 minutes I spent with the each candidate.

The Astros are definitely looking for a manager with experience, and I think we’re going to see one with Major League experience. After all, they want a manager who will relate well with younger and older players, and I think you need an experienced MLB manager to deal with star players. So I’ve broken down the candidates into three groups. The leaders, the contenders and the long shots.

Again, this is in no way indicative of what the front office is thinking, but it’s what I think. And sometimes I get things right. Now I want to know what you think. Who should be managing the Astros in 2010 from this group?

LEADERS

Bob Melvin: The Astros have to love the fact he managed veteran players to 93 wins in Seattle and a younger Arizona team to the NLCS in 2007. He seems to be the exactly what the Astros want.  

Manny Acta: No one in the group seemed to have as much knowledge about the Astros than Acta, who was signed by Houston at 16 and spent 16 years in the organization as a player, coach and manager. He’s young, bilingual and this would be his dream job. 

Phil Garner: The fact that Garner, the former Astros manager, even got an interview leads me to believe he’s a serious candidate. If anyone can rally a team and fire them up, it’s Garner. He’s been there, done that. Whether that helps remains to be seen. 

Ned Yost: He took a struggling Milwaukee franchise and led them to the playoffs as they got younger and better. Sure, he was fired at the end of the 2008 season, but that was his team in the playoffs.

CONTENDERS

Pete Mackanin: The lasting image I took from Mackanin was him walking off the podium after the interview shocked at how few members of the media there were in attendance. But he has tons of experience doing different things and was highly recommended.

Dave Clark: No one would be shocked if the Astros hired Clark, who got the endorsement of the players after his 13 days as interim manager at the end of the season. But I see him staying on the staff and getting another look during the next go-round. 

Brad Mills: Who doesn’t like Brad Mills? He has a great personality and has tons of experience as a Minor League manager and as a coach in the Majors. He spent six years working under Terry Francona, a person Ed Wade respects mightily.

LONG SHOTS

Tim Bogar: Bogar is still young and up-and-coming, which could hurt his chances here. I think he’s going to make a good manager someday, but the experience handling star players just isn’t there.

Randy Ready: I just can’t see the Astros hiring someone with so much lack of experience at the Major League level when they have so many other experienced candidates. His time will come eventually. 

Al Pedrique: The Astros’ Minor League field coordinator knows the organization well, but will players listen to him?  

 

A look at Astros managerial candidates Dave Clark and Al Pedrique

In an effort to give you a better understanding of the men who are coming to interview for the Astros’ full-time managerial job, this blog will be home to bios of the potential candidates on the day they are scheduled to interview. In case you missed it, here is the interview schedule:

     Wednesday: 10 a.m.-Dave Clark; 1:30 p.m.-Al Pedrique
     Thursday: 10 a.m.-Ned Yost; 1:30 p.m.-Randy Ready
     Friday: 10 a.m.-Bob Melvin; 1:30 p.m.-Manny Acta
     Saturday: 10 a.m.-Phil Garner
     Monday: 10 a.m.-Brad Mills; 1:30 p.m.-Tim Bogar

Clark, the Astros’ interim manager, and Pedrique, the Astros’ Minor League field coordinator, are pretty familiar to Astros fans, but hopefully these bios will help everyone get to know the candidates better in advance on their interviews. The first interviews are Wednesday, but here are the bios of the first two candidates:

     Dave Clark
     Age: 47
     Hometown: Tupelo, Miss.
     College: Jackson State
     Most recent job: Astros interim manager (after spending most of season as third-base coach).
     Previous Major League managing experience: Went 4-9 in final 13 games with Astros this year.
     Major League managing record: 4-9.
     Minor League managing experience: Made managerial debut in 2003 at Class-A Lynchburg in Carolina League and was named league’s Manager of the Year. In 2004, he managed at Class-A Hickory in the Pittsburgh organization and went 85-55 and won the South Atlantic League title. The Astros hired him in 2005 and he managed for three years at Double-A Corpus Christi, leading the Hooks to the 2006 Texas League title and winning Manager of the Year honors. He managed at Triple-A Round Rock in 2008 and went 64-79.
     Minor League managing record: 432-405.
     Playing experience: Played 13 seasons in Major Leagues, ending his career with the Astros in 1998. He’s a career .264 hitter with 62 homers and 284 RBIs in 905 games. He was originally selected in first round (11th pick overall) in 1983 draft by Cleveland.
     Did you know: Clark was 26-0 as a Golden Gloves boxer while in high school?
     What GM Ed Wade said: “I was impressed with the work he did at Triple-A a year ago. I thought he did a very solid job as third-base coach, and I was favorably impressed with him as both as a coach and an interim manager.”

     Al Pedrique
     Age: 49
     Hometown: Valencia, Venezuela
     College: None
     Most recent job: Astros’ Minor League field coordinator.
     Previous Major League managing experience: Went 22-61 in second half of season for Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004.
     Major League managing record: 22-61.
     Minor League managing experience:  He managed for eight years in the Minors, posting back-to-back winning seasons in 2002-03 at Double-A Tucson in his final two seasons as skipper. He began managing in 1995 and guided the Astros’ Class-A affiliate in Michigan in 1999-2000, winning the Midwest league title in 2000. He’s also managed in the Venezuelan Winter League and the Arizona Fall League. 
     Minor League managing record: 463-433.
     Playing experience: Pedrique played three seasons in the Major Leagues and hit .247 with one home run in 174 games with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
     Did you know: Pedrique was the starting shortstop for the National League All-Star team in the original RBI Baseball video game by Nintendo?
     What GM Ed Wade said: “Al was here as an administrative coach when I got here and I was impressed enough with what he did that we made him field coordinator, which is a critical part of our organization. Al’s done a great job in that role and relates well with people. He’s stern when he has to be and is willing to teach, which is important.”

Astros have six confirmed candidates for manager job

The names are slowly coming in. The Astros will begin interviewing managerial candidates Wednesday, and Red Sox coach bench Brad Mills and first base coach Tim Bogar have been given permission by the Red Sox to interview with the Astros. Interim manager Dave Clark will be among two men to interview Wednesday, and former Washington manager Manny Acta has already acknowledged he will interview.

Also, former Arizona manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com on Monday he will interview later this week. Wade has confirmed Acta, Mills, Bogar, Clark and Astros Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique as candidates.

The Astros will try to interview two candidates per day beginning Wednesday and hope to finish the first round of interviews by later this week. Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith, assistant general managers Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck and special assistant to the general manager Enos Cabell will be involved in the first round of interviews. Owner Drayton McLane is scheduled to get involved later in the process.

Wade has been making calls to try to gather more information about the men who will interview, but he’s looking forward to talking to the candidates in person

“We’ll have very specific questions about how he goes about organizing Spring Training, how he interacts with coaches and the authority he gives to coaches and things of that nature – basically walking through what one would expect a manager’s responsibilities to be,” he said. “And we’ll ask some direct questions about how they go about things in each of those areas.”

 

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