The Houston Astros have named Joe Espada as their new manager, the team announced Monday.
Espada will replace legendary skipper Dusty Baker, who retired after the 2023 season. This will mark the first managerial hire for general manager Dana Brown and it's a promotion from within.
"We feel that Joe is a great fit to run our ballclub," Brown said in a statement. "He has a great relationship with our players and staff and has been an integral part of the Astros success for several seasons. He knows the organization from top to bottom. Joe has a great baseball mind and has great passion and enthusiasm. He has been in the game for a long time, knows what it takes to win and has certainly earned this opportunity."
Espada, 48, has been with the Astros since the 2018 season as their bench coach, which is the MLB equivalent to a top assistant coach. The Puerto Rican-born Espada has interviewed for multiple managerial jobs over the years, including the Rangers and Cubs. Espada will be the second Latino manager in Astros history, following Preston Gómez (1974-75).
The Astros are on quite a run. They've made the last seven ALCS, winning the American League pennant four times and taking the World Series championships in 2017 and 2022. They reached Game 7 of the ALCS this season, but were bounced by the Rangers. Espada steps right into his role as manager with the goal of winning the World Series in his first season.
There's plenty of talent in house, too. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker will be back to anchor the offense while the pitching staff retains Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, Cristian Javier and gets Lance McCullers back from injury. The Astros won 90 games last season -- their lowest full-season total since 2016 -- and took the AL West title. Espada now leads a team that has won the AL West each of the last six full seasons.
He started his coaching career with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (a Marlins affiliate) in 2006 and rose to the big-league club as a third-base coach for 2010. In 2015, he became the Yankees' infield coach and third-base coach. It was after the 2017 season that Espada went to the Astros as the bench coach. He's assisted A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker in Houston and now finally gets his shot with the top job.