Brian McTaggart ran with my idea of profiling the managerial candidates, so I'm letting him doing the heavy lifting before fisking the candidates a bit.
First up, Ned Yost, former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers:
Hometown: Eureka, Calif.
Most recent job: Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Previous Major League managing experience: Managed the Brewers for six years and guided them from also-ran to contender in the National League. Milwaukee finished sixth in the NL Central in his first two seasons, third in 2005, fourth in 2006 and second in 2007 and 2008. The Brewers clinched the NL Wild Card on the final day of the 2008 season, just days after Yost has been dismissed as manager.
Major League managing record: 457-402.
Minor League managing experience: None.
Minor League managing record: None.
Playing experience: Yost spent six years in the Majors as a backup catcher with Milwaukee (1980-83), Texas (1984) and Montreal (1985). He's a career .212 hitter with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 605 games.
Did you know: Before becoming manager of the Brewers, Yost was the bullpen coach (1991-98) and third-base coach (1999-2002) under Bobby Cox in Atlanta?
What GM Ed Wade said: "I don't know Ned very well, but the guy served under Bobby Cox for 10 years and certainly has what it takes to be a successful big-league manager and he has experienced success in the Major Leagues. It didn't end well [in Milwaukee], but that's true of all the experienced guys we're interviewing."
Yost was quoted by Alyson Footer on Twitter as saying:
"...I think they're one starter away from having a really good staff."
Talk about saying all the right things to management. If by one starter, he means three, then yeah, the Astros could have a really good staff. But then again, doesn't it depend on who that starter is? Mike Hampton sure didn't make the staff better, but John Lackey might. C.C. Sabathia sure would make a staff look a lot better, as he did for the Brewers under Yost. Are the Astros getting that one starter? Not likely.
Yost did a good job with a smaller budget in Milwaukee, but Rickie Weeks never was able to transform his considerable talent into being a solid starter, but he got a breakout performance from J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun. I can't decide if this was a courtesy interview for Bud Selig or whether Yost has a legitimate shot at the job. It will be interesting to see his interview with the press later today.
As for Randy Ready, here is his bio:
Hometown: Freemont, Calif.
College: Cal State Heyward.
Most recent job: Hitting coach for the San Diego Padres.
Previous Major League managing experience: None.
Major League managing record: None.
Minor League managing experience: Ready began his Minor League managerial career in 2002 with Oneonta of the New York-Penn League and was named Manger of the Year. He spent two years in Oneonta before returning the Padres and managing at Class-A Fort Wayne (2004-06) and San Antonio (2007). He led the Missions to the Teas League title in 2007. He took over as manager at Triple-A Portland prior to the 2008 season and held that position until being named the hitting coach of the Padres on July 31, 2009.
Minor League managing record: 489-466.
Playing experience: Ready was a fifth-round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1980 draft and played parts of 13 seasons in the major leagues with the Brewers (1983-86), Padres (1986-89), Philadelphia (1989-91; 1994-95), Oakland (1992) and Montreal (1993). For his major league career, Ready batted .259 with 107 doubles, 21 triples, 40 home runs, 239 RBIs and 312 runs scored over 777 games.
Did you know: Ready was teammates with Cecil Cooper and Ned Yost in Milwaukee in 1983.
What GM Ed Wade said: "I've known Randy since '89 when we traded for him in Philadelphia. He ha a great personality and mixes with players. I saw him manager in the Tigers' Minor League system and was impressed. He has equally as strong credentials managing in the Padres' system. When I scouted [for the Padres] for a couple of years, I could tell he relates very well with the players. They promoted him to big-league hitting coach midway through this season, and a lot of people feel the success they experienced in the second half of the season coincided with Randy arriving on the scene."
Rob Neyer had an interesting blog post today about whether Rudy Jaramillo really helped the Rangers hit better. The point is, we don't know really how much a hitting coach or a pitching coach can help players. Very few guys have gone to multiple teams and been successful with new players, whether is Leo Mazzone or Steve Peterson. The interesting thing to think about is whether his effect on the Padres could be classified as too small a sample size to be statistically relevant.
Ready still has, apparently, a good style and was popular with the guys in San Diego. That goes a long way to changing the culture around the Astros that built up under Coop. The old adage in football is you replace the taskmaster with a player-friendly guy and a nice guy with a drill seargeant. Whether it's Barry Switzer for Jimmy Johnson or Tom Coughlin for Jim Fassel, it happens all the time. Maybe that's what the Astros are planning on doing here.
One last note on Al Pedrique, post-interview. Here is his bio from McTaggart. Pedrique and Clark both said the same things in their media sessions; communication is very important. Think they were listening late in the season when everyone (i.e. Justice, JJO, Tags) were talking about how Coop didn't communicate with anyone and that's why the Astros suffered? Both these guys were around the team last season and probably know better than most what Drayton wants to hear. It'll be interesting how well that approach works.