Houston Astros hire the ethical Jeff Luhnow as General Manager

The Houston Astros filled their General Manager vacancy with Tampa Bay Rays executive James Click.  This signing all but ensures the Astros will remain a top dog in baseball.

The Houston Astros have found Jeff Luhnow’s replacement, hiring VP of Baseball Operations James Click from the Tampa Bay Rays.  This comes shortly after the organization hired Dusty Baker to be the manager.  The Rays lose their second baseball executive of the offseason as Chaim Bloom departed to Boston several months ago.

James Click becomes the latest Tampa Bay executive to leave and become GMs joining the aforementioned Bloom and Andrew Friedman.  Click is a Yale grad who has been with the Rays since 2006.  In those 14 years, Click has done just about everything as he ascended through the ranks.  From the Rays’ website:

James Click enters his second season as vice president of baseball operations. In this role, he is involved in all aspects of the baseball operations department with a focus on baseball research and development, baseball systems, clubhouse operations and departmental logistics. He also assists with player evaluation, roster configuration and deployment, contract negotiation and staff management. Click joined the Rays organization in 2006 as coordinator of baseball operations. He was then promoted to director of baseball research and development and later director of baseball operations. James was raised in Durham, N.C. and earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University. He and his wife, Ace, reside in St. Petersburg with their two sons, Sam and Nate.

This is a great hiring for the Astros as they bring in an executive well-versed in the cutting edge tactics the Astros have deployed for years.  Analytics, data-driven scouting, and R&D efforts are all staples of both the Astros and Rays organizations.  Jim Crane said it himself that Click comes from an organization that does a lot of the same things we do.

If there is one area Click will have to adjust to, its being on a team that actually spends money. The Rays have about $57M on the books for payroll in 2020.  Meanwhile, the Astros total payroll is nearly four times that amount and Crane has proven that he will spend what is necessary to build a winner.

The Houston Astros won’t miss a beat as they install a new head executive.  The supporting executives around Click are some of the best in baseball and they still retain their information advantage against the rest of the league.  The difference is now the Astros have installed a more ethical version of Jeff Luhnow to run the show.  Click will also be in charge of installing some ethical compliance standards and giving MLB a window into the Astros “troublesome’ culture.  So long as Click and Dusty don’t oversee another cheating scandal of any sort, MLB will be happy to move on from the shadows of Luhnow and Hinch.