A couple of days ago Ken Rosenthal reported that there was serious tension between Astros manager Bo Porter and general manager Jeff Luhnow. I guess “tension” was an understatement, because Bo Porter has been fired.
In addition to Porter, bench coach Dave Trembley has been fired as well. The Astros have named minor league manager and longtime coach and player Tom Lawless as the interim manager. There will be a press conference at 2pm Central time. In the meantime, Luhnow has released a statement, which reads in part:
“Bo’s passion and energy are unparalleled, and his desire to win unquestioned. This decision was not made because of our current level of competitiveness in the Major Leagues. I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible. Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.
The rest of the statement can be read in Evan Drellich’s story at the Houston Chronicle. In it Luhnow clearly implies that the firing was based on communication and disagreements with Porter and/or Porter’s alleged deficiencies in dealing with the team’s young talent. Of course, given that Porter and Luhnow have been reported to have huge disagreements about things, it’s quite possible Porter has another story.
Porter probably had no chance from the get-go. The Astros were a total tear-down job and they were, as Luhnow’s statement suggests, set up to lose. While Porter theoretically had a long leash as a result, it’s hard to think of any other situations in baseball history where the caretaker manager during a rebuild was around by the time the team was competitive. And the Astros’ rebuild has been a longer-than-usual process with some time still left before the team can reasonably be expected to win. Even if there weren’t tensions here, Porter would’ve probably been replaced eventually.