Results tagged ‘ Jeff Luhnow ’
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday the team’s search for a permanent manager remains in the early stages. Luhnow, team president George Postolos and owner Jim Crane have a long list of candidates, and the team is trying to gain as much information as possible before starting the interview process.
Tony DeFrancesco has been managing the team on an interim basis since Brad Mills was let go Aug. 18.
“We’re continuing to assess our list of candidates,” Luhnow said. “I mentioned before that it’s a relatively long list and what we’re trying to do right now is do as much as we can prior to engaging in any conversations to trim that list down a little bit, and there are a lot of conversations going on between George and Jim and myself and us reaching out to people in the industry we know and trust. That’s the process we’re going through right now.”
The challenge for the team’s brass is finding the type of candidate that most closely matches the team’s organizational direction. Luhnow said the new manager would have to be an inspirational leader, a teacher and a strategist. And he, obviously, needs to be willing to be excited to work with young players.
“We need someone that’s going to be good at teaching, someone good at inspiring and basically working with the front office and help us achieve our goal of becoming as competitive as possible,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of separation between the front office and the manager and the field staff. All those should work together seamlessly towards the same objective.”
Luhnow said the team would like to interview potential candidates all within the same time frame, but he doesn’t know how soon interviews will start.
Here it is. The Astros have set their 25-man roster (players in italics are on an active Opening Day roster for the first time):
Fernando Abad (L)
J.A. Happ (L)
Wandy Rodriguez (L)
Wesley Wright (L)
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who created a minor stir last week when he said, while speaking at an analytical conference, that the Texas Rangers were spending in the international market like “drunken sailors,” said Thursday he had sent a direct apology Rangers president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels.
“I reached out to Jon and to Nolan because it was taken out of context,” Luhnow said. “I don’t know what they heard, but I did reach out to them and explained that it was not a dig against that organization because they’ve done a great job there.”
The Rangers opened their wallets for pitcher Yu Darvish earlier this year signed him to a six-year, $60-million deal and they have signed Dominican teenager Jairo Beras, though the deal is being reviewed by Major League Baseball to confirm Beras’ age.
Luhnow spoke last week at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which was co-chaired by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. The conference provides a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.
The second day of pitcher and catcher workouts went off without a hitch, with Astros manager Brad Mills getting his first look at pitchers like Rhiner Cruz, Livan Hernandez and Paul Clemens when they threw in the bullpen for the first time.
“Watching the guys throw, that’s always the biggest thing,” Mills said. “I thought Rhiner Cruz threw the ball really well. I thought Bud Norris threw the ball well and Paul Clemens, too. Livan’s command of his pitches was pretty impressive. The guys are doing the things to get themselves ready. Today was a much better day. Guys knew better where to go and what to do.”
General manager Jeff Luhnow was impressed with Clemens, who came to the Astros in the Michael Bourn trade.
“He’s got a big arm,” he said. “We’re going to develop him as a starter. My philosophy for the better arms is until they prove to us they don’t have three pitches and don’t have command to start, we’re going to start them, and it looks like [Clemens] has got everything he needs.”
Let’s get right to the photos:
The Astros have won a waiver claim on former Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez, a source confirmed for MLB.com.
Widely considered one of the Mets’ top prospects from 2006-10, Martinez was billed as a power-hitting outfielder expected to be a cornerstone of the Mets’ lineup throughout this decade. But multiple injuries and an arthritic right knee have prevented Martinez from appearing in more than 82 games in any of the past three seasons.
The Astros would have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Martinez.
Forty-seven of those appearances have come with the Major League club, though almost exclusively as a reserve. Martinez hit .183 with two home runs during those stints. He hit .260 with eight home runs in 63 games for Triple-A Buffalo last season.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow made his first significant player move Wednesday, acquiring infielder Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon, according Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The Astros couldn’t be reached to confirm the deal.
The Astros acquired Melancon from the Yankees at the Trade Deadline in 2010 as part of the Lance Berkman deal.
Lowrie, a 27-year-old switch-hitter, would satisfy the Astros’ need for a shortstop following the departure of Clint Barmes in free agency. He’s a career .252 hitter with 19 homers and 117 RBIs in 256 games with the Red Sox since 2008, and he batted .252 with six homers and 36 RBIs last season.
Weiland, 25, is a right-hander who made his Major League debut last season and was 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in seven games (five starts). A third-round pick of the 2008 Draft, he went 23-31 with a 3.51 ERA in 90 career games in the Minor Leagues, including 85 starts.
Melancon, 26, could fill the Red Sox’s need for a closer. He pitched in a career-high 71 games for the Astros last season and was 8-4 with a 2.78 ERA and saved 20 games. He took over as closer in the first half of the season after Brandon Lyon went down with an arm injury.
Despite all the changes the Astros have been going through in the last month, manager Brad Mills never really appeared to be in danger of losing his job. And deservedly so.
Mills, who will return for the final year of his contract in 2012, has two years under his belt as manager (132-192 record) and has seen the Major League club stripped and payroll dropped while the team stockpiles prospects in a rebuilding phase. Mills did a terrific job of keeping the Astros competitive in the second half of the 2010 season after losing Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and last season’s 106-loss campaign certainly couldn’t be put on him.
The Astros used 20 rookies last season, including starting second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Jimmy Paredes and outfielder J.D. Martinez, and had one of the youngest rosters in baseball, including an inexperienced bullpen. Mills’ mission has been to mold the young players and get them ready as quickly as possible while trying to win games, which is an extremely difficult challenge.
“Brad’s our manager,” new general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday when asked about his job status. “I had a good conversation with him, and I’m looking forward to working with him as our manager.”
Astros owner Jim Crane sang Mills’ praises.
“Brad’s a good developer of talent and that’s what we need,” he said. “I like Brad and I had a good time to visit with him and hear his input. We spent some time together [at the Winter Meetings] in Dallas, and Jeff feels the same way about him.”
The Astros turned to their division rival and the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals for next general manager, announcing late Wednesday they had hired Cardinals vice president of player procurement Jeff Luhnow.
Astros owner Jim Crane will introduce Luhnow on Thursday at a 1 p.m. CT press conference at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“We are very pleased to have Jeff as the new general manager of the Houston Astros,” Astros president and CEO George Postolos said. “Jeff is the perfect fit for the Astros because of his track record in scouting and player development during his eight-plus seasons with the Cardinals.
“The Astros strive to develop one of the best systems in baseball and create a consistent winner at the Major League level. Jeff has the knowledge, skills and experience to lead the baseball operations efforts at all levels and help the Astros achieve this vision. Jeff has a demonstrated the ability to inspire and motivate staff in the front office and out in the field. He was born and raised in Mexico and his bicultural background will be an asset in recruiting players from Latin America and developing the Hispanic market for Los Astros.”
Luhnow, 45, will take over a club in a major rebuilding phase. The Astros, coming off a club-record 106-loss season, are committed to rebuilding through player development under the ownership of Crane, who control of the club last month.
Luhnow has been a vice president with the Cardinals since 2003 and has overseen the Cardinals amateur draft since 2005. Many of the players that contributed to the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series title were drafted under Luhnow’s watch, including Jaime Garcia, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Lance Lynn.
He added player development to his responsibilities in 2006 and was instrumental in the organization’s Minor League successes since that time, including the best system record in baseball in 2010 and five Minor League championships from the rookie leagues to Triple-A.
Luhnow has overseen the Cardinals’ scouting and development efforts in Latin America since 2004 that has produced Major League players and several top prospects. During his time with the Cardinals, the organization managed to build and maintain a strong farm system while at the same time winning at all levels, including three World Series appearances and two world championships.