Justice: Bagwell should manage the Astros

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Despite what Roy Oswalt has to say about motivation and all of that, the Astros’ problems run a heck of a lot deeper than Cecil Cooper.  But that’s not stopping Richard Justice from speculating about how installing a new manager will make everything all better:

The
first thing Drayton McLane ought to do this morning is telephone Jeff
Bagwell and ask him to manage the Astros for these final 33 games.

If Bagwell is reluctant, McLane can turn on that Temple charm. The Astros need a makeover, and this is a good place to begin.  If
McLane is thinking clearly, there will be a buzz back at Minute Maid
Park when the Astros return home next weekend. His bad, boring team
will become interesting overnight.

To be fair, Justice has some other suggestions too, such as moving Tejada to short, benching Kaz Matsui and giving a bunch of other kids a shot.  Not that that will help too much given the sorry state of the Astros’ system.  Bagwell  is certainly the centerpiece of Justice’s plan.

And I agree with him insofar as the kind of interest and excitement such a thing would create in Houston.  But I am dubious about whether it’s a good idea in a competitive sense.  There’s a sense out there that Hall of Fame types don’t make the best
managers because they aren’t able to teach players to what came to them
as easy as breathing. Maybe that’s baloney, but ask yourself: who was the last superstar, Hall-of-Fame talent that made a mark as a manager?  Frank Robinson, I guess, and that’s only if you allow for a rather loose definition of “made a mark.”  And unlike Bagwell, he had a lot of years under his belt before he was considered a somewhat solid manager. 

Ultimately, however, the problem in Houston is the roster, not the manager, and until that is addressed they can install anyone they want at the helm and it won’t make too much of a difference.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.