Update: see the post on Tuesday also on What will James Click Do?
Today Jim Crane apparently will tell James Click he will not return as the Astros GM. I say that because if Crane intended to bring back Click it would have already have happened and/ or Crane would be speaking positively about WANTING Click back.
Ready or not it's the offseason and the offseason outline will give you an index of everything you need. Check it out!
From the YouTube Channel, Watch here as we talk about this.
As you wake up and before this news happens, I want you consider whether James Click SHOULD be back as the Astros GM.
So how would you grade James Click as the Astros GM since being hired in February of 2020?
To answer this let's consider the major factors of things James Click has done as GM.
Execute trades to help the Astros
I have listed the trades Click has made in his time as Astros GM
As we look at these trades now, the best trade was the trade for Montero and Graveman. Montero has been one of the three best RP in 2022 while he was arguably the throw in in 2021 in this deal.
The two blockbuster deals in 2022 - for Vazquez and Mancini - that I rated as A deals at the time did not deliver the intended value due to lack of usage and slumps. Clearly the manager and GM were not on the same page wrt the catching situation. It was reported by Jeff Passan that Dusty went to Crane to veto a Urquidy for Contreras deal. That illustrates a dysfunction in the front office that frankly I blame Crane for.
This is a subjective grade I have made on these trades but I did look at the stats to back them up. Did I miss any trades? Which trade do you think I rated wrong and how would you rate it and why?
The overall grade I would give to Click's trades is a B or 7 out of 10.
Sign Free Agents to help the Astros
Here is how I rated Click's Free Agent Moves
Many of these are essentially re-signing players already with the team. I rated it IF that player completed their contract. Early year extensions were excluded (Maldonado, McCullers).
Did I miss any significant FA signings? Which Free Agent do you think I rated wrong and how would you rate it and why?
There are busts here like Baez, Odorizzi, and Goodrum. Neris, getting JV back, and Brantley back are the pluses.
The overall grade I would give to Click's Free Agent is a C+ or 6 out of 10.
Manage Payroll to stay within limits set by ownership
This team was over the CBT when Click arrived. It was beset by COVID and the cheating scandal both that were MASSIVE Financial negatives.
After 2020, the Astros let Springer and Reddick go. The fans were most upset about Springer, The team turned to Tucker and Straw in the OF.
In 2021, Click got the just BARELY under the CBT but had to structure the Odorizzi contract unfavorably for 2022 and 2023 to do that.
Before 2022, Click did NOT re-sign Correa which was a huge PR hit. They stuck with Pena and were right. Click negotiated a great deal for the Astros AND Alvarez. The team will need to make some hard choices in this offseason but should be on better financial ground after winning the World Series.
I would grade Click an A for financial management or 9 out of 10.
Overall Mission- Win championships
Every season James Click was the General Manager of this team, the Astros went to the ALCS. They won two of those ALCS and now one World Series.
As Astros GM, the team has a 230-154 record (0.599). Of course, one can say the same about Dusty Baker in that same period.
The hardest thing in evaluating Click is that given the payroll and talent here, he did not have a lot of opportunities to make splashy deals. His primary role was to fix what the weaknesses were. Let's review about how well Click addressed the team's biggest issues the last two years through trades or Free Agency.
Bullpen- he got MULTIPLE RP arms almost to throw numbers at the issue but they had a significant platoon split issue- this did hurt the team
Catcher- was locked into Maldonado and Castro
Center Field- let Springer go, initially went with Straw, made a decision to trust McCormick and Meyers, traded Straw. Seemed to be a disconnect with his manager. I think Click was right.
Starting Pitching depth hurt them in 2021 in the postseason. The experience the young arms got made this a total strength in 2022.
Catcher- when Castro disappointed and Maldy struggled, click waited until the deadline, got a deal for Contreras was vetoed and still got a deal for Vazquez, manager refused the help
First Base- despite manager not wanting the help got player who could play 1B and LF, manager refused the help
Short Stop- refused to cave to bring back team icon Correa and went with rookie Pena who performed and shined in the postseason
Center Field- Stuck with McCormick, traded away manager favorite Siri
LHRP- Got a low value option with upside in Smith
Overall given the constraints, addressing those weaknesses the way he did without mortgaging the future I think is a sizable win.
Overall I would grade Click a B+ or A- and probably 8 out of 10.
IF Crane does not bring back Click, I believe it will be because he is returning to someone from the Luhnow front office - David Stearns or Sig Mejdal.
Here is why I am pushing this to you today when most of you just want to watch the parade and enjoy the World Series win. TRUST ME, no one is happier that they won than me. Understand I believed they could win months ago. When they beat the Yankees and were set up to take on the Phillies, I considered them to have won. I have to switch to postseason mode because there is no time not to.
As I said in the offseason outline
Jim Crane meets with Baker and Click - TODAY - and we will have an article tomorrow that is likely to reference this one.
Things already happened to this team and I will share more about that today and in the days ahead
Major League Players became Free Agents – 11/6- Who do we think will be back
Teams have exclusive rights to negotiate with their former players that are FA – 11/6-11/10
There is no time for this team to rest on its victory due to the nature of the MLB calendar. Eighteen teams have had a month to do what the Astros will execute in the next few days.
THIS WEEK, the General Manager's Meetings are happening. I expect, assuming Click is gone, we have a new GM at that meeting THIS WEEK. (This is what happened when Luhnow was hired.)
It is the offseason whether we like it or not. I will be here to help you get through it.
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I will push out a video in the morning on this on the YouTube