The Houston Astros are planning to hire bench coach Joe Espada as their manager, according to multiple reports.
Espada will take over for Dusty Baker, who retired in October after the Astros were eliminated by the Texas Rangers in the ALCS. Baker managed 26 MLB seasons and led the Astros to a World Series championship in 2022.
Espada, 48, played nine seasons of minor league baseball from 1996-2006. After retiring as a player, he worked as a coach for the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees before joining the Astros in 2018 under A.J. Hinch. He remained with the team when Baker took over as manager in 2020.
Espada has long been anticipated as a candidate for the position upon Baker’s retirement. He’s reportedly been considered for multiple manager openings in recent seasons and was a finalist for the Marlins job last season before they hired Skip Schumaker.
The Astros have not confirmed the hiring, but they called a news conference for Monday where they’re expected to introduce Espada. Espada will take over a team that’s advanced to the ALCS in seven straight seasons and is expected to continue to compete for World Series titles.