Jeff Passanespn3 minutes to read
the The Houston Astros have hired Joe Espada as their manager following the retirement of Dusty Baker, turning to their longtime bench coach as they look to continue a record-setting seven-game winning streak in the American League Championship Series, sources confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.
Espada, 48, has been on the Astros’ bench since 2018, a year after the Astros won a World Series title that has since been tainted by the revelation of the sign-stealing scandal. Espada was previously a coach for the New York Yankees, and before that he coached with the Miami Marlins after nine years playing in the minor and independent leagues.
Espada remained with Houston after head coach AJ Hinch was fired in the wake of sign-stealing allegations and served as a vital member of the staff during the transition to Baker.
Baker, who led the Astros to the World Series title in 2022, retired after Houston lost to the eventual champion Texas in the ALCS this season.
The Astros will return the core of their team that won the AL West division this year. Left fielder Yordan Alvarez, second baseman Jose Altuve, right fielder Kyle Tucker, third baseman Alex Bregman and starters Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier are all under contract next year, though Altuve, Bregman, and Verlander are all scheduled to arrive Off to free agency after that. 2024 season.
News of Espada’s appointment, first reported by USA Today, will resonate well at the club, where he is very popular. The players view Espada as an all-around coach whose leadership skills helped bridge the gap with Baker.
Espada will be the fifth coach hired this winter, joining Craig Counsell (Chicago Cubs), Bob Melvin (San Francisco), Ron Washington (Los Angeles Angels), Carlos Mendoza (New York Mets) and Steven Vogt (Cleveland). There are still openings. : San Diego, which let Melvin go to the Giants, and Milwaukee, where Counsell left as a free agent for rival Chicago.
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