Astros fire manager Brad Mills after less than three seasons

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Brad Mills was hired before the 2010 season by Drayton McLane, who is no longer the Astros’ owner, and Ed Wade, who is no longer the Astros’ GM. So he’s been a sitting duck under the new regime.

And a 39-82 record sure didn’t help matters.

Mills was let go on Saturday night following an ugly eight-run loss to Arizona, along with hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham.

Interims for those positions will be named Sunday.

Mills, a first-time manager, went 171-274 in just shy of three seasons with the ‘Stros. His roster was sapped of talent over the past two summers as the organization began a frantic rebuild, but that brutal winning percentage means it will likely be a little while before he’s given another try as a major-league skipper.

The Astros are moving quickly to change the look and feel of the organization under new owner Jim Crane and new general manager Jeff Luhnow. They’ll move into the star-studded American League West next season, and recently submitted a more “traditional” uniform redesign to the MLB offices for approval.

It’s a club under a complete renovation. A renovation that isn’t attracting many spectators.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.