The Houston Astros have finally done what fans have been crying for them to do for quiet sometime now. Frustrated with an MLB-worst 39-82 season thus far, the Astros have fired manager Brad Mills along with hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham not more than two hours after Houston lost their 82nd game of 2012 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The fact that it was a 12-4 thumping didn’t help lighten the blow either.
Houston has been admitting all season long that they are going into rebuilding mode and nothing now signifies that more so than loping the head off the old regime. It started with a fire sale of players and has seemingly now ended with the firing of skipper Brad Mills. The Astros weren’t dancing on the ceiling either with the announcement of the firing.
As many as two Astros players said later that they didn’t find out about their manager getting the axe at the ballpark, not did they hear it from anyone within the Astros organization — they found out about it on Twitter.
The firing of Mills punctuates a summer that saw Houston basically trade the farm, hoping that the future investments and returns will pay off. Since July 4 when the Astros sent first baseman Carlos Lee to Miami, general manager Jeff Lunhow has slashed the Astros Opening Day payroll of $40 million to $21.3 million.
Lunhow did this by trading away J.A. Happ, Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, Wandy Rodriguez, David Carpenter and Chris Johnson before the July 31st deadline (well, Johnson was traded just a week ago so he’s the only exception).
The Astros haven’t gotten any breaks this year either. Some of the more sensible fans have recognized that this whole debacle isn’t 100 percent Mills’ fault. He can’t help the fact that Jed Lowrie and Francisco Cordero are on the DL and he really can’t help the fact the Ben Francisco is the only player currently active that makes more than $750,000.
That’s not going to be a World Series club, even if its in an Aaron Sorkin script.
With Mills gone, the Astros are officially giving up on being contenders this year and probably next. They have assets monetarily speaking to go out and grab some free agents, but the rebuilding process will take some time regardless.
Houston is expected to name an interim manager on Sunday as well as announce who will be filling in the vacancies at hitting coach and along first base.