World Series champ Astros, GM James Click part ways
HOUSTON -- The World Series champion Astros are in search of a new general manager after owner Jim Crane announced Friday that James Click wouldn’t return for the 2023 season.
“We are grateful for all of James’ contributions,” Crane said in a statement. “We have had great success in each of his three seasons, and James has been an important part of that success. I want to personally thank him and wish him and his family well moving forward.”
Click wasn’t immediately available for comment, but a source told MLB.com that Click turned down a one-year deal to return to the Astros, who only six days earlier defeated the Phillies to win the World Series. Crane said he spoke briefly with Click prior to the team’s victory parade on Monday, and Click flew to Las Vegas to represent the team at the General Managers Meetings, though his contract expired on Oct. 31.
The Astros brought back manager Dusty Baker on a one-year deal that was announced during a press conference Wednesday, at which time Crane said he would have more discussions about Click’s future when he returned from Las Vegas.
“But you know, James has done a good job,” Crane said on Wednesday. “He stepped in and made some good moves. We'll sit down and see here where we end up with James.”
The Astros also parted ways Friday with assistant general manager Scott Powers, a source told MLB.com. Hired in January, Powers helped oversee research and development, performance science, people operations and innovation. He was hired around the same time as assistant GM Andrew Ball, who assists with Major League roster management, player contracts, player procurement, salary arbitration and amateur scouting.
Click, who came to the Astros after 14 years with the Tampa Bay Rays, said Tuesday that the uncertainty about his future in Houston hadn’t taken away from his enjoyment of the Astros’ World Series title.
“That was one of the most enjoyable experiences that I’ve ever had in my entire life,” he said. “I got here [at the GM Meetings] and so many people who haven’t been lucky enough to win the title came up to me and said, ‘Is this worth it, what we all go through and how much time we spend away from our families?’ I will tell you unequivocally, yes. It totally lives up.”
Click was hired in February 2020 -- a few days after Baker -- in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal that cost manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs. In three seasons as GM, the Astros won two American League pennants, including the World Series this year.
With the Winter Meetings less than a month away, the Astros will have to work quickly to find a replacement for Click. The Astros lost two key front office members within the last month when assistant general manager Pete Putila was named GM of the Giants and international director Oz Ocampo was named assistant GM of the Marlins.
David Stearns, who worked under Luhnow with the Astros from 2012-15, stepped down as president of baseball operations in Milwaukee on Oct. 27 but remains under contract with the Brewers for 2023 and isn’t interested in returning to Houston.
“I’m just going to reiterate what I said previously: I’m not going anywhere,” Stearns told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy on Friday. “I’m committed to advising Mark [Attanasio, Milwaukee’s principal owner] and [general manager Matt Arnold] in any way I can. And that’s that.”