What's really behind highly polarized opinions on Astros managerial search

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

The Houston Astros are in the process of looking for a new manager, with Dusty Baker announcing his retirement from the Astros this week. And a report from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart has many fans and media concerned about the direction of the franchise.

McTaggart is reporting that the search for the new manager will be led by owner Jim Crane and Jeff Bagwell. With GM Dana Brown having a voice in the process.

This news is concerning because former Astros GM James Click lost a power struggle with Dusty Baker, which led to Click being arguably pushed out of the organization.

And Click did some terrific things for the Astros during his time in Houston. His presence was definitely missed last offseason when Crane and Bagwell made three free agent signings (Jose Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Michael Brantley) that backfired. The New York Postreported that Crane himself negotiated the Montero contract, which was the most scrutinized.

What's most alarming is the advanced analytics that helped build the dynasty, may longer be the direction the team is heading. It was reported that Crane may listen to Bagwell more than anyone else. A blend of old school baseball scouting and analytics could be ideal, but it seems the Astros are moving toward an old school approach.

One would hope Crane and Bagwell would learn from their mistakes from last offseason, but if they hire a manager like Brad Ausmus because of Bagwell's recommendation, we could see the team fall further behind the other number savvy clubs in MLB.

Just think about the skill set James Click brought to the organization. He started with the Rays in 2006 “building out their proprietary database, using his coding skills to pull in as much information as possible.”

Not exactly the skills you associate with Bagwell, Crane, and Brown. Or Ausmus for that matter.

And as we look back, allowing Click and pitching coach Brent Strom to leave look like huge mistakes. Strom just led his Arizona pitching staff to the World Series by silencing the Phillies explosive offense. While the Astros pitching regressed this year. One could argue Strom wasn't here in 2022 when the pitching was elite, but he worked with those guys in 2021 and perhaps after two years without Strom, they started to fall off.

So who should the next manager be? If the Astros promote bench coach Joe Espada to manager, will all the Crane and Bagwell criticism go away? Or if they hire a coach like Walt Weiss away from the Braves, will that ease the minds of Astros fans? That would indicate Crane and Bagwell are listening to recommendations from GM Dana Brown, who came from Atlanta.

One thing is for sure, if Ausmus is hired as manager, there will be a backlash. And don't forget, Ausmus was a finalist to be GM, with the team opting for Dana Brown instead.

There's so much more to cover here, be sure to watch the video above for the full conversation.

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How Texans' CJ Stroud got the last laugh on Panthers entire organization

When Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were drafted with the first two picks of the NFL Draft, we knew they would be compared to one another for years to come.

And here we are just 11 games into the season and one quarterback has already seen his head coach fired. Panthers owner David Tepper spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed his decision to fire Frank Reich, and also set the record straight on how they arrived at the decision to draft Young.

In so many words, Tepper basically blamed the Texans for how the top of the draft played out. He mentioned Stroud by name and said the Panthers were ready to draft him at No. 2 overall until the Texans backed out of the three-team trade with the Bears.

Tepper made a point of saying everyone in their building had Bryce Young as the top player on their draft board, despite rumors about Frank Reich preferring Stroud.

CJ Stroud and the Texans have been so much better than Bryce Young and the Panthers that Tepper clearly felt it was necessary to defend himself, and the decisions he's made for the organization.

In the end, the person that gets the worst end of the deal is Bryce Young. Coaching changes can be very difficult on young quarterbacks. And it looks like he'll have to learn a new offense in his second year when the Panthers hire a new coaching staff.

How fortunate we are as Texans fans to have DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud leading the team moving forward.

With all of this in mind, is there a reason Texans fans haven't fully bought in to the new-look Texans? JJ Watt was a guest on The Pat McAfee Show this week and was asked about the team's inability to fill the stadium on Sundays.

As a former player for the Colts, McAfee always thought Houston had the loudest and best fans in the NFL. And while the Texans are 9th in attendance this year according to ESPN, even CJ Stroud has asked for the fans to fill the stadium.

So there is something to it. You can see the empty seats in photos. So why aren't the Texans packing NRG with a shiny new franchise QB?

We believe the recent history of the team is why fans are slowly coming back. McAfee wasn't here for:

Bill O'Brien cussing at fans during games

Trading DeAndre Hopkins away for next to nothing

The Jack Easterby disaster

Deshaun Watson allegedly blaming ownership for why he wanted out

The Deshaun Watson scandal

Firing back-to-back coaches after one season, and the list goes on.

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