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Heyman | Astros wisely looking to sign Hinch long-term

Jon Heyman

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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.

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Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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