Joe Espada is about to make an astronomical rise…
The 48-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball coach and former Minor League Baseball player will reportedly serve as the Houston Astros’ new manager following Dusty Baker’s retirement.
The team is turning to their longtime bench coach as they look to continue a record-setting run of seven consecutive American League Championship Series appearances, according to ESPN. An official announcement is expected Monday.
Espada has been on the Astros’ bench since 2018, a year after Houston won a World Series title that has since been tainted by the revelation of a sign-stealing scandal.
Espada had previously been a coach with the New York Yankees, and prior to that he had coached with the Miami Marlins following a nine-year playing career in the minor and independent leagues.
Espada remained with Houston after the firing of manager A.J. Hinch in the wake of the sign-stealing allegations and served as a vital member of the staff as it transitioned to Baker taking over.
Baker, who managed the Astros to the World Series title in 2022, retired following Houston’s loss to eventual champion Texas Rangers in the ALCS this season.
The Astros will return the core of their team that won the AL West this year. Left fielder Yordan Álvarez, second baseman Jose Altuve, right fielder Kyle Tucker, third baseman Alex Bregman and starters Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier are all under contract for next year, though Altuve, Bregman and Verlander all are set to hit free agency after the 2024 season.
The news of Espada’s hiring, first reported by USA Today, will go over well in the clubhouse, where he’s well liked. Espada is seen by players as a well-rounded coach whose leadership skills helped fill a gap with Baker.