Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
9 Total Updates since September 24, 2012
8 months ago Article 5 comments
Patrick Reddington talks about what Bo Porter has brought to the Washington Nationals and how often Porter bum rushes an opposing teams dugout.
8 months ago Article 25 comments
Hosts: Tim De Block and David Coleman
Topics: The Houston Astros hiring of Bo Porter and your questions
8 months ago Update 0 comments
As Astros fans, we have all been very interested in who is going to lead the team back to contention on the field. We knew that Jim Crane would be the financial backing and the Jeff Luhnow would be the brains of the whole operation, but who would it be on the field. Parts of the fan base were growing tired of Brad Mills before the season even started, but he definitely deserved time to prove he was capable of the job. As the season wore on, grumblings started to grow louder and Luhnow came out and said Mills would be evaluated at the end of the season. Then, he was fired and our own David Coleman summarized the situation perfectly. He had a bad team and got a rough go of it, but Mills didn't fit this new organization.
So, the search began. It's been a busy month (plus a few days) of searching and there were definitely plenty of distractions, including Roger Clemens. So, let's take a look at the timeline of what all has happened.
August 19-Tony DeFrancesco named interim manager
August 21-Per Astros County, Brad Ausmus interviewed for manager job. Immediately refuted by the club, but later came out that he did in fact interview for the job.
August 23-John Heyman reports nine names rumored to be considered.
August 28-Jeff Luhnow spoke with Brian McTaggart about the process and what they're looking for.
September 11-McTaggart reports that Tony D. is in the running for the full-time job.
September 12-Ken Rosenthal tweets that Jim Riggleman has not been contacted for the manager job. Luhnow had previously worked with Riggleman in St. Louis.
September 13-Things are starting to heat up with McTaggart reporting that Bo Porter is set to interview.
September 14-Larry Bowa "discusses baseball related matters" and Tony D. gets official interview. Dave Martinez also gets an interview.
September 18-Jim Crane gives a timeline for a decision and Larry Bowa out of the running. Tim Bogar gets his interview. McTaggart also clarifies the timeline that they will be sensitive on timing of the announcement for coaches still in the playoff hunt.
September 20-Nick Cafardo tweets that Tim Bogar and Dave Martinez are the front runners.
September 21-Rosenthal confirms that Ausmus interviewed but is not considering it.
September 25-Jeff Luhnow tells McTaggart that the list of 45 candidates was cut to nine and is now even smaller. Crane says the list is down to 3-4.
September 26-Lance Berkman endorses Bogar in an interview with Zachary Levine.
September 26-News breaks that Bo Porter will be named the new manager the following morning.
September 27-Bo Porter named new manager officially.
A lot of little things happened over the course of the search. How do you feel about the candidates? Was the front office playing it too close to the chest? Do we know enough about what the team was looking for? Should Lance Berkman have any thoughts on the search while saying he wants to play for a contender? Are you happy with the involvement that Biggio has?
8 months ago Update 11 comments
As part of the press conference to announce Bo Porter (even though Porter wasn't present), the Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said they wanted to complement Porter's strengths with the rest of his staff.
"He's an expert in specific areas, including outfield, baserunning, and fundamentals," Luhnow said.
He later said that the staff would be rounded out with people who could help support him on infield play, pitching and the switch to the American League.
What does that suggest for the composition of the current Astros staff? Well, he did say that no decisions would be made until Porter officially takes the job, but I can't see anyone on this staff coming back. Joe Pettini may be the bench coach, but I'd bet on the Astros bringing in a guy there who has that AL experience.
It also doesn't sound like Doug Brocail will be the answer as the next pitching coach, but I have no clue who they might bring into that role. Insert generic Dave Duncan reference here.
One possibility (if he wants it) could be bringing in Tim Bogar to be the bench coach. That would give Houston both the solid infield experience and a guy who has recent AL experience to help Porter out. Bogar doesn't have any previous managerial experience at the major league level, but maybe being a bench coach in Houston would help move him up the charts faster for another job..
Anyways, that's all baseless speculation. Who do you have filling those roles Luhnow mentioned?
8 months ago Article 0 commentsContinue
8 months ago Update 0 comments
Earlier this summer, Bo Porter gave an interview to FanGraphs covering a variety of topics. You can find the whole interview here, but here are a few choice excerpts to give you a sense of what his managerial style may be. (Hat tip to Mad Martygan for finding the interview so quickly last night.)
“In the American League, it’s a huge advantage when you have a nine-hole guy who is like a second lead-off guy — a high on-base-percentage guy — because now you have three on-base guys in front of your three- and four-hole hitters.
Wait, leadoff guys are more about on-base percentage and not speed and/or bunting abilities? Blasphemy!
Porter also discussed talking with Tony La Russa about strategy and batting the pitcher eighth. Maybe that's when he popped up on Luhnow's radar the first time?
“The idea of hitting your pitcher eighth has always made sense to me. I talked to Tony LaRussa about it when I was in Florida and he was managing the St. Louis Cardinals. You want your best hitter to hit third, and his reasoning was that he wanted an extra everyday hitter in front of Albert Pujols. Instead of having the pitcher in the nine-spot, he had a position player. Once the lineup got rolling, it was almost like [Pujols] was hitting fourth, but still was guaranteed to hit in the first inning.”
And here's the obligatory data-driven question:
On using data: “We use it a lot, but we also have really good baseball people. It’s almost like we coexist with the information that statistical analysis can give us. We take into consideration the player’s ability to perform. The statistical analysis gives you information, but once you get into the flow of the game, that flow dictates how you use the information. I love the strategic side of the game. It’s something that really drives me and excites me.”
Really, though, go read the entire thing, because it's a great read and really gives you a solid insight into Porter. It almost makes up for him not being at his own press conference.
8 months ago Update 0 comments
At the end of the press conference announcing Bo Porter as the new manager of the Houston Astros, GM Jeff Luhnow talked about interim manager Tony DeFrancesco's role with the team moving forward.
"I can’t say enough about what Tony has done," Luhnow said. "This was a great opportunity for him. He’s going to remain with the organization. One of the reasons we brought him in when we did, we knew he was going to be with the organization, and we knew he’d be here with these young players to help us evaluate them long-term. We don’t know what capacity he'll be in next year, but we’re going to go through things top-to-bottom and figure out roles after the season."
DeFrancesco has a record of 12-23 with the Astros since taking over for Brad Mills, but has led the team to a 11-13 record in September. Houston could finish with its first .500 record in a single month since September 2010.
8 months ago Update 14 comments
The new Astros manager couldn't be at Thursday's press conference in person, since he's still got a game and a World Series to chase this season. Hope that's not an omen of things to come, because everything else that Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane said was encouraging.
Luhnow called Porter an, "expert in specific areas, outfield, baserunning, fundamentals." He also said that with the young team, Houston needed to emphasize playing baseball the right way and that Porter and his new staff would have to do a good job of that in the future. Was that a cut at Brad Mills or Tony D?
Porter, 40, is a Houston native who is having a homecoming of sorts, even though he's not home yet. He's worked under a variety of managers, including Davey Johnson, Fredi Gonzalez, Kirk GIbson and A.J. Hinch. He's seen a lot of different organziational styles and, though he hasn't been a manager in the big leagues before now, he does have experience coaching in the minors.
As we expected, analytics came up. "Bo understands and appreciates the effect technology and the analytical side has had on the game," Luhnow said. "He wants to not only accept it, but take it and let it impact the organization. I think he will help us continue to apply some of the things we’ve been working on."
When asked by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle what made him a good fit for that, Luhnow responded that Porter was, "open-minded, smart and he knows baseball. We feel we can develop a bond between him and the front office that will be closer than in some organizations around baseball."
The other thing emphasized in the press conference was Porter's motivational skills. Both Luhnow and Crane referred to him as a "motivational speaker." They said he will be getting out in the community more to use those communication skills and will hopefully set up a better atmosphere in the clubhouse.
"He's like a motivational speaker," Luhnow said. "He can connect individually and with groups. He will get the most out of people and has genuine energy about him. People are drawn to him. It doesn't matter how old he is, people want to follow him."
To that end, Luhnow said that changing the clubhouse culture was something they valued highly in the interview process and was a factor in their decision to bring in Porter.
"One of our key criteria was the candidate creating the right culture in the clubhouse," Luhnow said. "We’ve seen two environments this season and realize how important the staff is in creating that. That can make all the difference in the world. We want an environment that is supportive and development-oriented instead of everyone for themselves. We really felt good about the kind of environment he will create. It’s a contagious enthusiasm balanced by a realism. He’s not going to stop until he achieves his goal."
Porter's background as a football player at Iowa was also brought up as a positive. That "football mentality" will help with a sense of urgency that this team will need at times. Luhnow thinks Porter can not only bring that urgency, but also maintain it over the course of a long season.
"He will not accept anything less than 100 percent effort," Luhnow said. "That's important in giving us the best chance to win. I was struck by something he said in the interview process. He said, 'It’s not a matter of setting expectations too high and failing to reach them, it’s setting them too low and reaching them.' He brings a football mentality to the team that helps him create a sense of urgency. He’s smart enough and capable to keep that up over the entire season."
8 months ago Article 51 comments
The Houston native will be landing his first managerial job and was reported as the choice late Wednesday night.