The Houston Astros are set to bring in Joe Espada as their new manager, succeeding the retired Dusty Baker, as confirmed by sources on Sunday. The formal announcement is anticipated to be made on Monday.
Espada, 48, has been a familiar face on the Astros’ bench since 2018, contributing significantly to the team’s seven consecutive American League Championship Series appearances. His coaching experience extends back to his time with the New York Yankees, and before that, he was associated with the Miami Marlins. His baseball journey includes a nine-year playing career in the minor and independent leagues.
Remaining with the Astros through the aftermath of the sign-stealing scandal that led to the dismissal of manager A.J. Hinch, Espada continued to play a crucial role during the transition to Dusty Baker’s leadership.
Dusty Baker, who guided the Astros to a World Series title in 2022, announced his retirement after Houston’s recent loss to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
The Astros are poised to maintain the core of their successful team for the upcoming season. Key players such as Yordan Álvarez, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, and pitchers Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier are all secured under contracts for the next season. However, Altuve, Bregman, and Verlander are set to become free agents after the 2024 season.
The news of Espada’s managerial appointment, first reported by USA Today, is expected to be well-received in the Astros’ clubhouse, where he is regarded favorably. Espada’s well-rounded coaching style and leadership skills have filled a significant role within the team, making him a respected figure among the players.
Espada’s hiring makes him the fifth manager to join the ranks this offseason, alongside Craig Counsell (Chicago Cubs), Bob Melvin (San Francisco), Ron Washington (Los Angeles Angels), Carlos Mendoza (New York Mets), and Stephen Vogt (Cleveland). Two managerial positions are still open, with San Diego and Milwaukee seeking to fill those roles.