WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Barely a month after getting hired by the Astros from the Rays -- and three weeks away from Opening Day -- Astros general manager James Click recently took some time to answer some questions from MLB.com.
Q: What are your impressions so far about what you see from the club three weeks into camp?
A: It comes as advertised. I’ve said this before. I got up close and personal with the talent of this team back in the playoffs last year, and getting to watch them do their work and find out how they continue to improve, even though they’ve obviously been very, very successful, has been a lot of fun. And getting to know the staff and talking to them about the way they work and the things they teach and why they do it, it’s been very impressive.
Q: You said a few times after you were hired so close to Spring Training that it was like drinking out of a firehose. Has it slowed down to a trickle yet?
A: No, not at all, and I don’t expect that it will. I’ve had a lot of conversations with other current and former general managers just trying to pick peoples’ brains and [get] some advice and every one of them talks about how the first year, especially, in the job is just constantly consuming information and trying to keep up. You almost have to give up on the idea of ever being caught up on everything and that’s the only way you focus on what you need to focus on. So maybe it will slow down at some point. So far there’s still much to do, but we’ll get there.
Q: Is there any chance as the camp progresses and you look at your roster that you would make an external move to bolster the roster?
A: We’re always looking at all options. We’re never going to cut something like that off. With that said, if we end up on Opening Day filling out a 26-man roster based on only the guys that are here, I think we’re going to be very happy with what we’ve got. Obviously, that can change in an instant as teams find out all the time. We’re going to have a lot of active conversations with other teams and see if there’s something that lines up. Again, if we have to make the roster based on these guys, I think we’re going to be very excited.
Q: Is there a position battle or roster battle that intrigues you most at this point?
A: That’s one of the cool things about this roster is that there almost isn’t. It’s not a push-button roster. No roster is. But there are a lot of guys here who are very well-established in their positions and you don’t want to take anything for granted and assume anything, but by and large, I think we have a pretty good handle on who’s slotting in where. There’s always going to be guys you want to keep an eye on and make sure people aren’t developing suddenly in front of your eyes and you miss it, but by and large, we have a pretty good idea of our roster.
Q: Has there been anything that surprised you about the job so far or something you have to deal with you didn’t expect?
A: Just the global scope of it. I had a feeling for this based on my experience in Tampa. They do a really good job of giving people experience for these kinds of jobs and getting a feel for the entire organization. The role is so global. I can’t come up with a better word for it than that. It’s so broad and it’s so global, you end up on some level being involved in every aspect of the entire organization, and trying to prioritize that and process that is a tricky balance. I’ll get there.
Q: We’re about three weeks away from Opening Day. Is there some excitement and anticipation about that yet at this point?
A: Absolutely. That’s the thing I’m hoping we can really get to over the next couple of weeks. The focus has been, obviously, on some of the stuff off the field, but it’s the crack of the bat, it’s the pop of the glove. It’s spring. It’s baseball. I hope that once we get to Opening Day or even before that, [we] start focusing on the field and remember the rebirth that comes every year with baseball and get excited about this team that is going to compete for a championship.