It sure looks like the Houston Astros World Series broke the media

It sure looks like the Houston Astros World Series broke the media
The national media can't help themselves when it comes to the Astros. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Barely two weeks after the Houston Astros drew millions (upon hundreds of thousands) to a downtown victory parade, ESPN’s Jeff Passan posted an exclusive, “behind-the-scenes” look Tuesday at the “turmoil” surrounding the Astros.

Passan said there was confusion and disarray – from players to coaches to the front office – trying to figure out what was going on with the, oh yeah, World Series champions.

Passan described the Astros organization as “chaotic,” filled with intrigue with one “Hall of Fame advisor with a reputation for yelling at people” and others questioning the direction of team leadership. Bottom line: the Astros were in crisis in 2022.

“Is the team that reached six American League Championship Series, four World Series and won a pair of championships in the last half-dozen seasons really considering pivoting from the analytics-heavy approach that built the team into a monster? Without (James) Click, who will shepherd the team forward? And is the answer to that question perhaps the person (owner Jim Crane) already at the center of the front-office dysfunction?”

What the hell is this guy talking about?

Of course the Astros have decisions to make to stay on top in 2023 and beyond. But they’re first place problems. There are 29 other MLB teams that wished they were as dysfunctional as the Houston Astros.

Nothing succeeds like success, and the person at the center of the Astros alleged dysfunction seems to be making all the right moves.

“Analytics-heavy approach?” Take a look at Dusty Baker in the Astros dugout. How often do you see him hypnotized staring at an iPad Pro? Wasn’t that cranky fan’s complaint, that Baker made some perplexing decisions based on his gut instead of Click’s algorithms? The Astros won 106 regular-season games and roared through the post-season taking no prisoners.

If that’s turmoil – give me turmoil

Obviously there were conflicts between general manager Click and owner Crane. And now Click is gone. This isn’t the first time a boss extended best wishes to a former employee in their future endeavors. That’s just what a MLB general manager is, an employee. While this is the first time in almost 75 years that the GM of a World Series champion was shown the door, it happened this time.

Squabbles happen in the workplace. Not everybody likes their boss. Did Passan like Mr. ESPN when he apologized for a snarky off-color remark he made about MLB owners on a company podcast? Did Pam Beesly like Michael Scott when she found out he was dating her mother – and he promised to continue dating her “even harder?” This is why we have HR departments.

Sometimes it’s better for both parties when the employee, even a high-up general manager, moves on to a place where he or she (Miami has a female gm, Kim Ng, the first) is more comfortable.

Do not worry for Click. He will be snapped up by a team before teams head to spring training. He’s highly respected and has a track record of winning.

And absolutely do not cry for the Astros. They are loaded now with tens of millions to spare for free agents. What veteran wouldn’t want to play for the Astros where they can capture a World Series ring and play for an owner willing to spend money, with an experienced players-manager, supported by adoring fans in a beautiful air conditioned ballpark in a state with no income tax?

This is a team that lost All-Stars Gerrit Cole, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Charlie Morton and other starters in recent years and just won the World Series. The said goodbye to a shortstop who wanted $35 million a year, replaced him with a 24-year-old rookie (not a kid, he just looks like one) who played barely more than one season’s worth of minor league ball and wound up winning the World Series MVP, a Gold Glove and a shift working the drive-thru window at Raising Cane’s.

The Astros have an excellent promotions department, comparatively reasonable ticket prices, food that gets better every year, close-by street parking, and a terrific broadcast crew.

And a tight-knit group of players who are running out of fingers for championship rings.

Yeah, turmoil.

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Forrest Whitley is being called up. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

It's no secret the Astros have dealt with their fair share of injuries and lackluster performances at this early stage in the season. The hitting has been a little inconsistent, but overall has been good, posting a Top-3 team OPS.

The pitching, however, is the club's biggest area of concern. They currently have the second-worst team ERA in baseball. That should get corrected soon with Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez working their way back in the rotation. But in the meantime, the Astros need some fresh arms in the bullpen.

According to multiple reports, the Astros are calling up former 2016 first round pick, Forrest Whitley.

It's been a long time coming for Whitley, who is yet to make his big league debut with the club. Whitley (age 26) has dealt with countless injuries since being drafted by Houston.

He pitched 30 innings for Triple-A Sugar Land in 2023 recording a 5.70 ERA. This spring, Whitley got injured once again. He's only pitched 3 innings for Sugar Land in 2024, allowing 4 runs with an ERA of 12.00.

Hopefully, Whitley finds success with his high-powered fastball and finally shows the potential that got him drafted in the first round almost eight years ago.

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