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Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Hinch.’

Astros improved by 19 games in 2014 under Bo Porter but ownership turns to Hinch to win championships

A.J. Hinch

The Houston Astros stunned the baseball world when they fired manager Bo Porter on September 1 in only his second season on the job and turned to Tom Lawless as the interim manager.

The team was very competitive in 2014. They made a 19-game improvement in wins over 2013 and they had the American League batting champion in Jose Altuve.

By finishing at 70-92, the Astros ended up fourth in the tough AL West and ended their streak of three straight 100-plus seasons.

On Monday, one day after the MLB regular season ended, the Astros became the first team to name a new manager.

They have hired A.J. Hinch,  a member of the bronze medal-winning 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, a former catcher, former manager and front office executive. As the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 & 2010 encompassing 212 games, his record was 89-123.

The 40-year-old Hinch, brings more than 20 years of playing, managing and front office experience in Major League Baseball to the Astros organization. This is his second managerial post, as he served as Arizona’s manager for parts of two seasons from 2009-10. Hinch also played parts of seven Major League seasons with Oakland (1998-2000), Kansas City (2001-02), Detroit (2003) and Philadelphia (2004). A former catcher, Hinch played in 338 career Major League games after being selected in the third round of the 1996 draft. His career totals include a .219 average with 32 homers and 112 RBI’s.

Hinch joins the Astros after coming from the San Diego Padres, where he most recently served as the club’s Vice President and Assistant General Manager for three years (2011-14). In that role, Hinch oversaw all aspects of the club’s professional scouting and medical departments, while assisting with the club’s roster composition, player acquisitions, talent evaluations and contract negotiations.

Hinch, who retired as a player in 2005, joined Arizona’s front office in 2006 and was eventually named the team’s Director of Player Development later that season. He held that role until being named the Diamondbacks manager in 2009.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow believes that Hinch is the man to lead Houston back to the success it had in the 90′s and early to mid 2000′s. “I feel A.J. Hinch will be the manager that is going to be here when we win the World Series.”

Says Hinch, “The goal is always to win championships. It is easier said than done. We have alot of work to do to get back to the success that the organization has had in the past.”

 

PORTIONS OF THIS ARTICLE TAKEN FROM HOUSTON ASTROS PRESS RELEASE; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Arizona Diamondbacks select Kevin Towers as permanent GM

The Arizona Diamondbacks, one of Major League Baseball’s worst teams, has called upon a former rival general manager to change the franchise’s fortunes on the field.

Managing partner Ken Kendrick and team president Derrick Hall have selected former San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers as the permanent GM. The team turned down Towers five years ago and couldn’t do it again.

Jerry DiPoto, player personnel director for the D-Backs had been the interim general manager and had done a good job. It is unclear if he’ll stay to work with Kevin Towers or not.

New D-Backs GM Kevin Towers (MLB & Padres photo)

Towers has his work cut out. Will he keep on Kirk Gibson, who has been the interim manager since July 2 when A.J. Hinch was fired. He’ll have to fix the bullpen, find a closer and find a way to cut down strikeouts at the plate.

Arizona does have some decent young starting pitching and power hitters. But still, they’ve been in last place the past two years.

Towers was known in San Diego as agreat talent evaluator especially with pitchers as he was able to obtain Heath Bell, Luke Gregerson, Mat Latos and Jake Peavy for the Padres.

A former pitcher himself in San Diego’s minor league system, Towers was the builder of  a Padres franchise that won four division titles and reached the 1998 World Series during his 14 years as general manager, the longest tenure in team history.

This season, Towers was the assistant to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

compiled from staff, radio, TV & Arizona Diamondbacks news

Hinch is out as Arizona manager; Gibson is in

compiled from staff and wire reports

The ownership of the Arizona Diamondbacks have shaken up the front office and the dugout.

General manager Josh Byrnes, three years ago coveted as a genius and given an unheard of eight-year contact extension, was fired recently along with young manager A.J. Hinch, whose team was 34 games under .500 in less than one full season on the job.

Kirk Gibson Arizona interim manager (mlb)

A.J. Hinch (mlb)

A name so recognizable with winning and hard-nosed play, Kirk Gibson, moves up from being the bench coach to become interim manager. Former major league pitcher Jerry DiPoto moves from vice president of player personnel to interim general manager.

The shakeup happened as the Diamondbacks are in the midst of a 10-game home stand anchored in last place in the NL West for the second year in a row, 15 games behind the San Diego Padres.

The 36-year-old Hinch, is the fourth manager to lose his job this year. In order, Trey Hillman of Kansas City, Dave Trembley of Baltimore and Fredi Gonzalez of Florida preceded him in getting a pink slip.

Kirk Gibson will bring a tough, no-nonesense, ol-school baseball attitude to the job. He is used to winning have played for Sparky Anderson and Tommy LaSorda.

He hit .268 with 255 home runs, 870 RBI’s and 284 stolen bases in 17 seasons as a major league outfielder with Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

MLB NOTES: Spring Training

Dan Haren working out (MLB)

compiled from staff and wire reports

* Arizona Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch has announced that pitcher Dan Haren will be the team’s opening day starter. Hinch says he probably will select Edwin Jackson as the #2 starter and Brandon Webb as the number 3. Webb’s only game action during 2009 was on opening day, and he is rehabbing his way back from shoulder surgery. Webb has been the opening day starter the last fours for the D-Backs.

* The Houston Astros have extended the contract of general manager Ed Wade through 2012. Wade, who was the Philadelphia Phillies G.M. from 1998-2005, has been with the Astros since September of 2007.

* Kansas City Royals outfielder David DeJesus told the media recently that he is fine with moving from center field to left field. During this past offseason, the Royals added Scott Posednick to play left and Rick Ankiel to play center. DeJesus has started only16 games in his seven year career.