Report: Astros to extend manager A.J. Hinch

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Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports that the Astros will announce a contract extension with manager A.J. Hinch on Thursday. Hinch’s current contract includes a club option for the 2019 season. Specifics about Hinch’s extension are not yet known.

Hinch, 44, took over as manager of the Astros in 2015 and the club immediately found success, going 86-76 a year after the club went 70-92. He led the Astros to the franchise’s first ever championship last year, defeating the Dodgers in seven games. Overall, the Astros have gone 352-266 (.570) in four seasons under Hinch’s leadership.

Hinch had previously managed the Diamondbacks for two seasons in 2009-10. The Astros liked him for, among many reasons, his willingness to include analytics in his decision-making process.

After defeating the Athletics on Wednesday afternoon, the Astros are 82-51 and hold a 2.5-game lead over the A’s in the AL West.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.