The Houston Astros hired a new manager on Monday — a day after they played their final game of the 2014 season in a year that wasn't good by any means, but still a significant improvement from their awful 2013.
The Astros hired A.J. Hinch to be their new manager, replacing Bo Porter, who was fired in early-September after a difference of opinion with the Astros' front office. Hinch is a former big-league catcher — always a good start when looking for a managerial candidate — and has one short stint as the Arizona Diamondbacks' manager before he was fired in the middle of the 2010 season. He was also vice president of pro scouting for the San Diego Padres until August, when former Rangers' assistant GM A.J. Preller took over as the Padres' GM and began cleaning house.
The biggest development out of all of this is the impact of the Astros' decision on the Texas Rangers.
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Both Tim Bogar and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, along with Triple-A Round Rock skipper Steve Buechele, were said to be candidates for the Astros' opening. The Astros' quick trigger could mean all three remain with the Rangers.
There was especially a concern Maddux could be high on the Astros' list given his close relationship with Nolan Ryan, but now it seems more likely the Rangers can retain him as one of the top pitching coaches in the game.
So thanks a lot, Astros.