Dirty laundry aside, there's no denying who's running the show in Houston
Looking back on the 2022 Astros’ season, most will have fond memories of how it ended: a World Series win to prove the haters and doubters wrong. This win secured a legacy or dynasty for the team. It validated the 2017 title by erasing the cloud of suspicion that the sole reason they won in 2017 was by cheating. The tinfoil hat wearing crowd can suck it! This team won fair and square!
While there are plenty of things to remember about this past season, one of the things that I’ll remember about is that Jim Crane carries the biggest stick on Crawford Street. Don’t believe me? Ask James Click. Hell, ask anyone in that organization. They’ll gladly tell you who’s in charge and who has final say on major decisions.
After the sign stealing scandal and its subsequent fallout/punishments were handed down, Crane took a more hands-on approach. He hired Dusty Baker as manager. This move was seen as bringing in an old school baseball guy who’s known to be a players’ manager. He then hired Click to be his general manager. Click came from Tampa Bay where their philosophy is low and slow when it comes to building a winner.
Click’s low and slow approach (coupled with analytics), didn’t always jive with Dusty’s old school ways. However, when Crane wanted to make splash moves, Click resisted. That is where the rift began. That’s also where Click sealed his fate as Astros’ GM.
When the boss whose name appears on your paycheck stub says he wants something done, the smart thing would be to make it happen. Unless there’s a danger to your life or the organization, you do what you’re told to do. Click chose to remain steadfast in his ways. Nothing wrong with building through the draft, making small trades, keeping payroll down, and using/relying on analytics. Those moves are good for building a team into a winner. The Astros were built to win already. Crane wanted Click to make moves he felt would keep the winning going immediately. Click wanted to make moves he felt had long-term sustainability. In the end, the man who has the billions won the pissing match over the guy who works for him.
Michael Schwab reported this rift in detail on November 13. He outlined the exact instances in which he believed Click earned his exit from the franchise. I’m of the opinion Click thought he was trying to help Crane, but Crane didn’t want him to help by telling him what he should do. Crane wanted Click to help by doing what Crane ordered him to do. When Click realized Crane wasn’t going to listen, he started leaking things to the media. Of course, we may never know the true extent of how dirty the laundry really is, but we see the pile.
Houston #Astros GM James Click actually was fired. He was offered a one-year contract and raise from his $1 million salary on Monday, turned it down in pursuit of a longer contract, and was dismissed Friday after publicly airing his grievances at the GM meetings.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 11, 2022
It's looking like Crane will now have a GM by committee this season. His hope will be to land David Stearns. He’s the boy wonder from the Jeff Luhnow tree that Crane has his eyes on, but the Brewers are making him honor the last year of his contract. Another report Schwab put out there was that Crane has possibly been in contact with former manager A.J. Hinch to come aboard as GM. THAT would be an interesting turn of events! ESPN 97.5’s Joel Blank and Paul Gallant did a video with an intriguing look at the next GM. Buckle up folks! This could be eventful!