Dropping A.J. Hinch wasn’t just a momentous occasion for the Astros. It also created an entirely unexpected opportunity for some as-yet-unknown skipper-to-be. The keys to an extremely talented Houston roster are lying on the dugout bench, waiting to be claimed.
Astros owner Jim Crane will be looking for a steady manager who can both guide the players and put a trustworthy face on the organization as it navigates choppy waters. It’s a tough and somewhat unusual gig, at least at the outset, but you can bet there’ll be no shortage of interest.
We’ve already seen an initial slate of candidates. It’s about what you’d expect.
The ’Stros will consider current bench coach Joe Espada along with former big leaguers Raul Ibanez and Will Venable. Espada is familiar and already under contract. But his presence in 2018 may cause some problems. While we don’t have any indication what (if any) role he played in the team’s sign-stealing efforts at that time, it’d certainly raise some questions and…