Astros name James Click general manager

February 4th, 2020

HOUSTON -- James Click, who helped shape the Rays’ front office for the past 14 years, was tabbed by Astros owner Jim Crane to become the club’s new general manager on Monday.

Click, 42, spent the previous three seasons as the Rays’ vice president of baseball operations, involved in all aspects of the department with a focus on baseball research and development, baseball systems, clubhouse operations and departmental logistics. He also assisted with player evaluation, roster configuration and deployment, contract negotiation and staff management.

The hiring of Click as GM and last week’s hiring of Dusty Baker as manager give the Astros a clearer direction heading into Spring Training, which begins next week. Crane fired president of baseball operations and GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch on Jan. 13, an hour after MLB suspended them for one year for their roles in the team’s player-driven sign-stealing scandal.

“James has had an impressive career,” Crane said in a statement. “He is a respected leader who has progressed in this game across all aspects of baseball operations and he has built great relationships with both front office and clubhouse personnel. I am thrilled to introduce him as our new general manager -- he is a great addition to the Astros.”

A graduate of Yale, Click joined the Rays in 2006 as coordinator of baseball operations. He was then promoted to director of baseball research and development and later director of baseball operations. Prior to working for the Rays, he wrote for the analytical website Baseball Prospectus.

“I am excited to join the Astros family,” Click said in a statement. “The Astros are a progressive and innovative organization with a deeply talented group in the front office. I am grateful to Jim Crane and the Astros for giving me this opportunity to help lead this team to more championships.”

Click should assimilate well with the Astros, considering he’s going from one forward-thinking front office to another. He inherits a team built to win in 2020 but faces some hurdles with an unprecedented budget north of $210 million and a farm system with only one Top 100 prospect (pitcher Forrest Whitley), according to MLB Pipeline.

Unlike the Rays, who have been relatively successful the last few years with a smaller budget, the Astros have had one of the biggest payrolls in baseball. It will be compelling to see if Click restructures the baseball operations department post-Luhnow. Several key staffers had received promotions in the last couple of months before Luhnow was fired, and it could take several months for Click to leave his imprint on the team.

Click will hit the ground running, though. Pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach, Fla., for the start of Spring Training on Feb. 12.