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Houston Astros: Make a Decision on Manager Brad Mills Now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 14:  Manager Brad Mills #3 of the Houston Astros looks on from the dugout in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Astros won the game 6-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IJuly 12, 2012

Brad Mills has had a solid baseball career. He played in the major leagues briefly. After his career ended, he became a scout, coach and manager in the minor leagues for more than a decade. He won a pair of World Series rings as a member of the Red Sox coaching staff.

In 2010, he became a big league manager when he joined the Astros. Not a lot has gone right since his arrival. The team has slumped and not been a factor in a pennant race.

The team was never once above .500 after early April and injuries took their toll. And each year, many of the established veterans were traded. Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Michael Bourn and Carlos Lee, among others, were jettisoned.

The Astros lost 86 games in Mills' first season in Houston. Last year, they lost 106 games, the worst in team history by nine games. This year, the Astros are on pace to lose 100 games again and they are looking to trade any player not named Jose Altuve.

It clearly is not working with Mills in Houston. In fact, according to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, the team is already turning the page and will replace him after the season.

If that is the case, the Astros should dismiss him now. If they are going to make a change, then bringing in an interim manager is the best course of action for the team, the fanbase and for Mills.

The new management, led by Jim Crane, inherited Mills as the manager. Make it official that the team is looking for a new direction with the new ownership by buying out the rest of Mills' contract.

They can begin the process of interviewing permanent managerial candidates now in the open. Have one of Mills' coaches take over on an interim basis and begin the changing process now.

For the fanbase, they might be disappointed in another lost season. But with the change, they will see that the Astros are indeed making efforts to change the culture of the team.

Remember, the team is moving to the American League next year, so virtually everything with the team will be different in 2013. Start the changing process now.

And as for Mills, show him the respect by not having him dangle for the rest of the season. The team has already dealt Carlos Lee, and veterans like Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers are not going to be far behind.

Why give him a depleted team and saddle him with back-to-back 100-loss seasons? And force him to answer questions about his job for the rest of the year?

It did not work out for Mills in Houston. He is a smart baseball man and will inevitably land another job. Why wait and have a charade that he could possibly come back?

When it is best for all parties involved to move on, it is best to do it now.

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