When the Houston Astros hire their next manager, they'll be putting in place the final piece to a major overhaul that saw more drastic changes than any time in the organization's history.
Tony DeFrancesco took over the managing duties for Brad Mills over a month ago, and since has shown he deserves to be considered for the job in 2013. The Astros have taken a quiet, under-the-radar approach to the hiring process. The team has even used former great Craig Biggio as an adviser throughout the process, as David Barron wrote for the Houston Chronicle.
While the Astros evaluate candidates going forward, DeFrancesco can use the opportunity as interim manager to make his best case for the job in 2013.
Here are three reasons why DeFrancesco deserves the job as manager.
Tony DeFrancesco worked with several current Houston Astros when he was the organization's manager for their Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate.
DeFrancesco's experience with players like Jordan Lyles, Jason Castro, Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez and other young players on the current roster should give him an edge in landing the job. DeFrancesco is already well aware of what these players need to work on going forward to grow as big leaguers. He's played a vital part in developing these players, and the Astros could be letting go of valuable knowledge if they choose to hire a candidate from outside the organization.
DeFrancesco has also worked with minor leaguers like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Rudy Owens and Marc Krauss during his time in Triple-A. These players could be Houston Astros soon, and having a manager with previous hands-on experience with these players could help accelerate their development.
Since Brad Mills was fired, there hasn't been a clear standout managerial candidate to emerge. The Houston Astros have taken a slow, methodical approach to the hiring process, and it's led to much speculation but no final decisions.
The longer the process takes, the better Tony DeFrancesco's chances are for landing the job. The club is doing its due-diligence, and in the process could be realizing the best candidate is in-house.
It likely won't be a major factor in the team's decision, but the Astros have improved since DeFrancesco took over the job. In 32 games since taking over, the Astros are 11-21. While that record isn't going to excite any fans, it shows that the team has responded on some level to DeFrancesco's managing.
Tony DeFrancesco has experience managing players who fit the moneyball philosophy, which is a philosophy the Houston Astros have adopted under general manager Jeff Luhnow.
DeFrancesco managed in the Oakland Athletics' minor league system for years and played a part in developing some of the quality talent on Oakland's current roster. The success of the Oakland A's should enhance DeFrancesco's standing with the Astros as they make their decision.
Not everyone in the industry agrees with the moneyball philosophy, so the Astros are likely dealing with a limited list to begin with. DeFrancesco's experience working with players who fit the moneyball mold will appeal to the Astros. This is likely one of the reasons why he was initially chosen to be the interim manager.
The Astros are close to finally having all the major pieces in place as the organization transitions forward under new owner Jim Crane. DeFrancesco deserves to be seriously considered for the managing position, as the Astros continue to rebuild the organization going forward.