Could the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox come calling for former Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter?
The Houston Astros are without a manager after they canned A.J. Hinch on Monday following his one-year suspension by the MLB for using technology to steal signs.
The news clouded a day with the College Football Playoff National Championship game and was a sour way to start the week.
With Hinch gone and co-conspirator, Red Sox manager and former Astros’ bench coach, Alex Cora set to receive an even bigger penalty, it looks as though two prominent teams are going to need a new manager.
Buck Showalter fits the bill for whichever team hires a new manager first. The former Orioles’ manager would be the perfect fit for either the Astros or Red Sox.
Showalter has been around the block, managing in the big leagues for 20 seasons and unlike Hinch and Cora, his record has been spotless. The three-time American League Manager of the Year is highly respected around the game of baseball and could be a valuable asset for either organization as they look to put recent events behind them and move on.
Showalter is a perfect fit for the veteran-laden Astros or Red Sox because those teams feature veterans such as Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez and Showalter is a manager who gets along with veteran players as he showed in his tenure with the Orioles.
“I think he holds everybody accountable. He holds himself to a high standard. He holds his players to a high standard, and at the end of the day, that’s all we ask. He’s not my father. He’s not anything [like] that. But he’s the manager, he’s the leader of the team. We go with his heartbeat. He’s always been focused and in the game. If the coaching staff can be focused in the game, I think the players can, too. That’s one thing that once they came here, I’ve seen that. Just show up to work, play hard and go home. After that, he has no excuses.”
“Accountability…no excuses…holds himself to a high standard…” These key phrases from the Jones quote shine a light into the kind of person Showalter is. His class is perfect for teams with a few years of not so classy managerial practices.
The knock on Showalter has always been that he cannot win the big one. In his 20 seasons at the helm of the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles, he made the postseason five times and only once made the Championship Series when the Birds were swept in 2014 by the Kansas City Royals.
However, when Showalter managed the Yankees, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera were in the infancies of their careers and the Bronx Bombers were not quite at the level talent-wise of the late 1990s Yankees.
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The 1999 Diamondbacks, with Randy Johnson, was a team Showalter should have gone further into the postseason with. The team they lost to, the New York Mets, did not have great pitching and the lineups of the two teams were comparable.
However, 1999 was really the only time Showalter had great pitching. The Rangers featured a pre-knuckleball R.A. Dickey and an aging Kenny Rogers, among other sub-par pitchers.
With the Orioles, Chris Tillman was the best starter Showalter had and injuries derailed his career.
If Showalter is hired by the Red Sox or Astros, he will finally have the pitching in the likes of Justin Verlander and Chris Sale to go along with the lineup.
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Baseball has seemingly always been a sport with its fair share of sketchy characters (1919 White Sox or Pete Rose). Showalter is not one. The Astros or Red Sox should try to clean up the game and their teams by hiring Showalter.