The Houston Astros have hired A.J. Hinch as their new manager, according to multiple reports on Twitter.
This news has some significance for the Rangers on a couple of different fronts.
First, the Astros reportedly had interviewed Round Rock manager Steve Buechele, and there were reports that the team had varying levels of interest in Rangers bench coach Tim Bogar and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Certain D/FW media types suggested that Maddux to Houston was a strong possibility, given the ties between Maddux and Nolan Ryan, although that pre-supposed that Ryan was going to have a significant role in picking the new manager, a presupposition that doesn't seem to be based in reality.
So the Hinch hire means that Buechele, Bogar and Maddux will not be going to Houston. All three are going to be interviewed as potential managers for the Rangers for 2015 (and beyond). I suspect that either Bogar or Buechele will end up being named the permanent manager in Texas.
Of course, this also means that the conspiracy theory that some folks had thrown out there -- that Ron Washington was headed to Houston, and his resignation was a precursor to him being reunited with Ryan (and in some scenarios, bringing Maddux with him as pitching coach) -- are firmly debunked. That was never really a credible storyline, but that doesn't keep some folks from peddling it.
Hinch seems like a good fit for what the Astros want -- he's a young (40 year old) guy with a background in scouting, having been the Padres' VP of professional scouting from 2010-14. Prior to that, he was the Diamondbacks' director of player development before being named the D-Backs manager in May, 2009. Hinch managed the D-Backs until being fired in the middle of the 2010 season.
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