Nationals third base coach Bo Porter traveled to Houston yesterday and became the first known candidate to interview for the Astros’ managerial opening.
MLB Network analyst and former Phillies manager Larry Bowa is in Houston today talking to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, although it’s not clear if he’s interviewing for the manager job or something else.
Asked by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com about the meeting, Luhnow said it was to “exchange baseball ideas” and “Larry is here to meet with me on some baseball related matters.”
It’s unlikely that the Astros would interview Bowa for a non-manager coaching job, since whoever they end up hiring as manager would surely want to assemble his own staff. It’s also possible that Luhnow is talking to Bowa about a front office or scouting position.
Bowa has tons of coaching and managing experience, including a Manager of the Year award from 2001, but he’s 66 years old and hasn’t managed since being fired by Philadelphia late in the 2004 season and has been doing television work since 2011.
The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”
While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.
The deal has not been confirmed by the team.