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Astros: Fans Demanding Espada be Fired?

Astros fans are demanding Espada be fired, but are their reasons valid? Dive into the analysis of why fans are outraged and if change is necessary.


I have seen multiple Astros fans mad on social media blaming the manager and general manager. They want both fired. I have a simple question for you if you agree with that.


Why?


What is the great failure of Espada and Brown? I have asked this multiple times, and I am going to give you my analysis of the reasons I have heard most often.


Reasons fans give for demanding Espada be fired:


  1. The team does not play for him because they don't like him

  2. Espada doesn't show enough fire and emotion

  3. The team has no fight and emotion

  4. All of the players are doing badly compared to the past

  5. He keeps playing Abreu. He should never play Abreu.

  6. He didn't move Bregman down the lineup two weeks ago


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If you think there is another reason Espada should be fired, respond to this.



Serious feedback only please.


I think the fact that I am having to write this less than three months into Espada's tenure is crazy, but here we are.


The team does not play for him because they don't like him


The narrative here is like so many. The person stating something along this line KNOWS this but can't REALLY PROVE IT.



Yes, there was an anonymous report that a couple of "prominent Astros" complained about Espada's "communication skills" on May 12th- MAY 12th.


Folks, when you read something like this ask yourself "who leaked this and what was their agenda?"


Oddly Bob Nightengale himself ALREADY told us the answer.



“Let’s stop kidding ourselves into believing we are a conduit to fans in the offseason, delivering information on their favorite teams and favorite players.  We are being used and don’t mind, even embracing it.  You know how many of these stories are leaked by agents? Try 95%. Maybe higher.”


Yes, this was about information in the offseason.


Let's list possible "sources" for this story.

A. Frustrated team executives

B. The disgruntled players themselves

C. Sports Agents

D. Former players who are upset with the team

E. Dusty Baker or someone close to Dusty Baker


A. Frustrated team executives- It was May 12th. The Astros were 15-25 after being besieged by a storm of pitcher injuries (top two in the MLB.) The team started the season with a murder's row of opponents. If there was a team executive surprised by the start, fire them and hire me.


B. The disgruntled players themselves- The key here is the date. What prominent Astros had just had their roles adjusted?

  • Jose Abreu agreed to go to Florida to figure out his issues- Do you think he was frustrated? Do you think he might have said that the conversation to go to Florida came without warning and that he wished there was more communication? Maybe one should note that there were reports that Abreu spent much of the 2023 season not listening to his coaches. Communication IS a two-way process.

  • Alex Bregman on May 8th was moved down to the 6th spot in the lineup. He had not batted as low as 6th since 2021. He had a 53 wRC+ that morning. This entire fan base was screaming for this move. Do you think Bregman was frustrated? Do you THINK he might have said something like this? "It sucks that I have been letting the team down. It sucks I did not know this was coming. I wish someone would have told me this was what they were thinking. It is my fault though for sucking." Folks, I have heard Bregman talk for years since LSU. That is completely believable.

So, even IF these were the two prominent Astros- to be clear, I have no idea- a reporter with an ax to grind could have taken these relatively benign responses to their situation and created "prominent Astros privately complained about Espada's communication skills."


It is media BS and ignores the realities of what was happening on the field and that every Astros fan was about to riot to make these moves happen.


C. Sports Agents- Bob told us this is often the source of these types of stories. How do you think Bregman's and Abreu's agents felt about the team actions? Were they told ahead of time? Both of these agents are fighting to get their client money this offseason (Bregman) or keep their client in a job (Abreu). It is EASY and frankly dumb to blame the manager for these players early failures.


D. Former players who are upset with the team- Are there ANY recent players who left (or more accurately were pushed out) who still have connections to the team? Yes, there are. Would these players have an agenda? Yes, they would.

E. Dusty Baker or someone close to Dusty Baker- I don't think this came from Dusty. I do think there is an army of Baker worshipers with connections with players who have issues that the team moved on from Dusty. They were screaming about firing Espada in week one. They should be ignored.


The point of all of this is not that the story is true or not. It is that the people spreading this story have an agenda.


Also, does anyone besides me remember how happy the players were that Espada got the job? So, they went from thrilled to hating Espada in 10 weeks? If true, then run all of them out of town and start over. I only say that because the very idea that the team would turn on him that fast is crazy.


Anyone bitching about a rookie manager's communication style SIX WEEKS into his first year is not a serious analyst.


Espada doesn't show enough fire and emotion


I do not know what the correct level of fire and emotion is. Fans bitch about managers being too passive and being too aggressive. Apparently, we have fans that KNOW what Espada is saying behind closed doors. I don't.


In fact, most of what fans bitch about Espada not doing would have been counterproductive and would not have changed anything. This is also completely ridiculous when Dusty Baker has been the manager. Dusty rarely even got out of his chair during a game. If Espada is too passive, he learned to be passive from Dusty.


I might want Espada to beef about terrible calls more. I will let Espada manage the way he wants and discover what works best for him.


The team has no fight and emotion


Fans are mad and they want the team to be as wildly emotional as they are apparently. I label this a football mindset. A baseball season has 162 games. Each game is roughly the equivalent of a single NFL game's half a quarter. Each PA is like a play in a football game. Do you go off on an emotional tirade for every seven minutes your football team loses within a game? If you do, then baseball may not be your sport.


  • A successful NFL passing offense completes 60% of their passes.

  • THE BEST MLB team gets hits 26% percent of the time.


Baseball, as a sport, is constructed around overcoming failure. Wild swings of emotions make overcoming the failure nearly impossible.


Fans want more Jose Siris. Jose Siri is hitting 82 wRC+ this year. There is a reason that most veterans are not wildly emotional. They have learned that is not the way to navigate the marathon that is an MLB season.


So, fans want the team and Espada to act irresponsibly. Duly Noted. Same fans defended Dusty for not acting irresponsibly.


All of the players are doing badly compared to the past

batter comps

This one is easily refuted. It simply is not true for the hitters. There are just as many batters overachieving as there are batters underachieving when comparing wRC+ for 2024 vs. career averages.


pitcher comps




The pitchers are a similar story with both overachievers and underachievers per FIP-. Yes, there are more pitchers not living up to their career averages. Do you REALLY think Espada is to blame that JV and Montero are falling off or perhaps is it more age related? One might argue France and Brown were severely overtaxed last year and this season is the residual effects of that.





He keeps playing Abreu. He should never play Abreu.


The decision on Abreu is an organizational one. If the Owner is not willing to release Abreu, Espada has to try to make him productive. I am sure he is being told to make Abreu as productive as possible. I have discussed Abreu in detail. The have a clock on him. Apparently, it is not midnight yet.

https://www.larrythegm.com/post/astros-why-the-abreu-pinch-hit-was-the-right-call-for-espada-video

Blaming Espada for Abreu's struggles is silly. Blaming him that he is on the team is completely ludicrous.


People were bitching that Espada pinch hit Singleton with Abreu Monday night.


See the discussion about the Abreu PH here.


This was exactly the right move against a very tough LHRP.


He didn't move Bregman down the lineup weeks ago


Bregman was moved down on 5/8-5/10 and 5/13. On May 12th, the rumors are out that prominent players don't like Espada. Espada has stuck with Bregman in the 4-spot for 15 of his 21 games since 5/13. The fan base tells me he should be batting 8th or 9th. He is third on the Astros since 5/13 with a 168 wRC+. Sounds like the fans were wrong and Espada was right.


There you have it. Every issue Astros fans can even try to articulate related to their frustrations with Espada addressed.


The truth is this. Astros fans are spoiled. Some younger fans can't remember a season when this team was NOT in the ALCS. Yes, this has been a challenging start. No, the Joe Espada should NOT be fired less than three months into his first season.


Here is another thing. People were bitching about the offense in a game where the team went on to score SEVEN runs Monday night.


Fans are really mad that the Astros are 28-34. That is the reality. There are REASONS the team has struggled and can still be in the mix for the postseason. The Astros do NOT need to fire Espada for any of these reasons.

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