After Manny Acta spurned the Houston Astros to take the Cleveland Indians manager position, the Astros had to go to Plan B.
Plan B was Brad Mills.
Mills was hired today to be the next manager for the Astros. Mills replaces Cecil Cooper who was fired with 13 games left in the season. Former Astros manager Phil Garner and interim manager Dave Clark were finalists for the position.
Mills has spent the last six seasons as the bench coach for Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox. Francona and Mills were teammates and roommates at the University of Arizona.
Mills also spent 11 seasons as a manager in the minor leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Will Mills make a great major league manager? That I don’t know. There is no way to tell who will be a great manager and who will fall flat on his face.
Here is what I do know. Mills is going to have a tough time winning in Houston if the talent he is managing doesn’t get better.
The Astros are in a bad spot right now. They are an aging team with bad contracts and are short on minor league talent. That’s usually a recipe for disaster.
Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, and Roy Oswalt all have huge contracts and are all at the back-end of their careers. The Astros do have Jason Castro and Bud Norris as young and up-and-coming players, but who knows if they can be solid players on the major league level.
Just like with Acta in Cleveland, the Astro fans are going to need to be patient with Mills. They are going to have to judge him on how he handles his players and can he get the most out of the talent he has to work with?
Mills takes over a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in four years and finished 74-88 last year.