Washington Nationals third base coach Bo Porter will leave the organization after the playoffs to become the new manager of the Houston Astros. Talk about a fixer’ upper. A Houston resident in the offseason, this is Porter’s first shot being a skipper after serving on Major League staffs in Washington, Miami and Arizona.
A finalist for the Pittsburgh Pirates gig that went to Clint Hurdle, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman mentioned the possibility of Porter replacing Ozzie Guillen if the Miami Marlins fire him as motivation for Houston’s quick decision. In addition, Davey Johnson isn’t getting any younger in D.C. and the third base coach might have made continuity sense for the Nationals. Then again, as bad as the Astros are and sweet mother of sliders they’re horrendous, it’s an immediate promotion near his home and more cash in his pocket.
I imagine the job security was attractive to Porter as well. In recent years under former owner Drayton McLane, the franchise flipped managers like they were pancakes, never committing to anyone for too long and scaring off candidates with successful track records. The current leadership, led by owner Jim Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow are constructing a new age regime, one that relies heavily on advanced statistics. Porter’s hiring conveys his attitude toward that movement.
Houston moves to the American League West in 2013 and a third consecutive 100-loss season appears likely. The leash Porter has shouldn’t tighten unless the team loses 130 games. At just 40, if he’s patient, Porter could invest three to four seasons in the rebuild and still possess the youth to enjoy the fruits of #1 pick after #1 pick.
Speaking of the first pick, Houston clinched the top overall selection in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft this week as they hover at 105 losses. Last season’s 106 dismal nights set a team record and resetting that in 2012 seems a probable bet barring an Astros’ winning streak. Houstonian Bo Porter is headed home to manage the club. Will Stanford Cardinal ace and former Houstonian Mark Appel join him next summer?