8:28pm: Crane would not sound as if he is leaning towards a management change, telling Mark Berman of Fox 26 he is “conscious each contracts are up and we’ll handle them on the finish of the season. We don’t need any distractions proper now” (Twitter hyperlink).
6:50pm: The actual phrases of James Click’s cope with the Astros weren’t publicized when he was employed in February 2020, however Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle studies that Click’s contract solely runs by way of the conclusion of the 2022 season. It is not identified if any extension talks have but taken place or will happen, however Rome writes that “inside the group, hypothesis about [Click’s] future has been a rising subject for the reason that finish of spring.”
After spending 14 years within the Rays entrance workplace, Click took over the Houston job in fairly abrupt circumstances, employed lower than a month after former GM Jeff Luhnow was fired within the wake of the sign-stealing scandal. That organizational shake-up additionally value AJ Hinch his job as supervisor, resulting in Dusty Baker’s hiring shortly earlier than Click was introduced on as the brand new head of baseball operations.
Given the entire tumult and controversy surrounding the Astros in the previous couple of years, there hasn’t been a lot carryover to the on-field product. Houston completed 29-31 within the shortened 2020 season however nonetheless reached the playoffs, and superior all the way in which to the ALCS. In 2021, Houston received 95 video games, recaptured the AL West title, and superior to the World Series earlier than falling to the Braves in six video games.
With a 90-50 file up to now this season, the Astros have the very best file within the American League, and are once more prime contenders to win one other championship. In a current podcast look, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal implied that some postseason success might be a necessity for Click, as “there might be some [front office] maneuvering if the Astros sputter within the playoffs.”
Even if Houston did get upset of their first postseason spherical, it will nonetheless appear to be Click has earned a bit extra leeway given the workforce’s file over his two-plus seasons. However, as Rome notes, the Astros additionally took one thing of a wait-and-see method with Baker — the supervisor initially signed a one-year cope with a membership choice that was solely exercised after the 2020 season was full, and Baker’s subsequent contract was one other one-year deal that can also be up after the 2022 marketing campaign.
It might be that Astros proprietor Jim Crane is once more ready till the season is totally over to work out extensions with Baker and Click, with the main target being solely on baseball for the current. Of course, that technique additionally carries danger, as any groups with entrance workplace or managerial vacancies might then emerge as different suitors for Click or Baker’s providers.
If Crane was certainly contemplating a change, it will instantly make Houston some of the sought-after employment locations in baseball for any common supervisor. The Astros are set as much as be contenders for a while to come back due to their implausible core of each established and younger expertise — and that would additionally issue into Crane’s logic in maybe wanting to maneuver on. Much of the Astros’ roster was already within the group earlier than Click was employed, so it’s attainable Crane might see him as one thing of a steward of Luhnow’s work. Given the fairly rushed circumstances behind Click and Baker’s hirings, Crane would possibly choose to take extra time in an extended search to seek out the chief (or leaders) of the following chapter of the Astros’ future.