Houston Astros manager A.J Hinch, a rising star, can be a free agent in two years (he has a year and an option left), and the Astros wisely are strongly considering an effort to lock him up long-term.
“I’ve learned one thing in baseball and that is that we are always interested in keeping our best talents,” Astros owner Jim Crane said.
Hinch originally came to the Astros despite having to accept a lower-tier contract following his first foray in managing in Arizona, and he’s had it extended once, but he is due for a major raise after establishing himself as one of the best managers in the game.
“We think very highly of A.J.” Crane said. “Everything’s in sync. Everything’s working. He communicates well with the players. He’s a smart guy, inclusive and has experience beyond his years.”
Hinch has melded the best qualities of the new breed of manager, by establishing a winning culture in the clubhouse while dealing well with a front office that trusts him (unlike some other analytically-strong teams, the front office entrusts Hinch to make out the lineup card and make other key decisions, which is the way to go if you have a talent like him).
Hinch led the team to its first World Series title, winning elimination games against the Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the World Series – yes, baseball’s two highest payrolls. Crane said they didn’t need a championship trophy to tell them how good Hinch is, and how lucky they are to have him.