Report: Astros to name Bo Porter manager

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Bo Porter has been a popular name on the managing carousel for a few years now, and it was no surprise to learn the Astros would give him serious consideration for their vacancy. According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, he’ll be Houston’s next manager.

Porter, who was previously a finalist for jobs in Florida and Pittsburgh, is currently serving as the Nationals’ third base coach.

A 40th-round pick out of the University of Iowa in 1993, Porter fought long and hard to reach the majors in 1999. He never could establish himself there — he ended up hitting .214 with two homers in 126 at-bats over three seasons — but there’s no denying he made the most of his talent. After retiring in 2003, he started coaching in the minors in 2005. He reached the majors as the Marlins’ third-base coach just two years later.

By taking the Houston job now, Porter passed on the possibility that a more attractive opportunity might present itself later. But on the plus side, he won’t face any pressure to win right away. The Astros are bringing in plenty of smart people, but it’s going to be a long time before they’re in any sort of position to contend in the AL West.

American draft prospect Carter Stewart signs in Japan

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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.

The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.

Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.

It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.

He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.