Houston Astros fired assistant general manager Scott Powers, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan. This follows the dismissal of general manager James Click earlier today. As Passan noted, Click signed Powers away from the Dodgers in January.
The Astros parting ways with Click was the first domino to fall in a surprising sequence of events following the Astros’ 2022 World Series victory. Despite reports of friction between Click and owner Jim Crane, many had issued the speculation that a World Series win would nonetheless be enough to overcome these tensions and keep the gravy train rolling. Instead, it appears the hurdles were too high to climb, despite the Astros’ emerging triumph in 2022. After Click was removed from the picture, it was speculated that some of his hires would also be released, and it did indeed come through with Powers sent out the door behind Click.
Powers was the Dodgers’ director of quantitative analysis until he was hired by the Astros in January 2022. Andrew Ball, who had worked with the Click in the Rays system, was also hired as AGM at the time. No word has been released on his status, but it’s fair to wonder at this point if Crane is determined at this point to fire anyone he deems a Click guy. It should be recalled that Click was hired after the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing efforts came to light after the 2019 season. President of Baseball Operations Jeff Luhnow was fired and Click was hired shortly after. Although the team continued to perform well, it seems things weren’t so rosy behind the scenes. Despite the layoffs, Click and Powers and anyone who eventually leaves will surely attract a lot of interest from other teams in the league based on their track record on the field.
The Astros now face significant front office turnover. In addition to Click and Powers, and whatever other moves may or may not come, a few executives have already left for jobs in other organizations. A month ago, the Giants hired Pete Putila, another Houston AGM, to be their general manager. Oz Ocampo, a longtime scout and executive with the Astros, was recently hired to be an AGM with the Marlins.
This puts the Astros in a strange and possibly unprecedented position. On the one hand, they are reigning world champions, having just lifted the trophy less than a week ago. It’s just the latest success marker in a long string of results, as they’ve qualified for the ALCS in each of the last six seasons. On the other hand, they will have to scramble quickly to fill a front office that is hemorrhaging members while planning their title defense in 2023.
Many have wondered if David Stearns could be a candidate due to several factors. He recently stepped down from his role as president of baseball operations for the Brewers to take on a more advisory role, and also attended an annual general meeting with the Astros before heading to Milwaukee. However, he’s still under contract for another year and said he’s not going anywhere, reiterating that stance today to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “I’m just going to repeat what I said before: I’m not going anywhere,” Stearns said. “I undertake to advise Mark [Attanasio, Milwaukee’s principal owner] and [general manager Matt Arnold] in every possible way. And that’s it.”
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