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The Astros former scouting director has sued the team

Feb 29, 2012, 5:30 PM EDT

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Chalres Norton, the Astros former director of baseball research/pro scouting coordinator, has sued the team, claiming they breached his contract when they terminated him on January 12.

Kind of strange in that, with a new owner, president and general manager, you expect house to have been cleaned. And the man who presided over a scouting and analytics program that gave the Astros one of the worst if not the worst minor league systems in the game is probably prime for the chopping block.  But Norton says that he was promised a job for a year:

According to the lawsuit, during a meeting on Dec. 16, 2011 that included Norton, Luhnow told those who were there, “everyone here and around are signed through next year and can have comfort that they have a job for a year.”

The lawsuit also states Luhnow made similiar comments on Jan. 3, 2012.

Hurm. I have no idea what happened, but it’s rare in this day and age for a new manager to say such things to a group of people when the subject of employment and firings and stuff come up. No one in that context even promises that the sun will come up in the east for fear of getting sued.

As for the plaintiff:  I wonder if he read the news reports at the time those promises were allegedly being made.  because if he had, he probably would have realized that the Astros were decidedly not content to stick with the current slate of employees going forward …

  1. randygnyc - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I’m inclined to believe Norton. He’s got to have gigantic balls to bring this suit, and at the same time, be lying about what was said in a room full of witnesses.

    • supersnappy - Feb 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      You never know – there is such a thing as a “nuisance claim” where someone sues you, hoping you’d rather pay them, say $10,000 than spend $50,000 in court. I’m not suggesting this is the case with Norton, but it happens sometimes

  2. aggie401 - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Craig I am interested in your analysis of this situation because it looks like Lunow eliminated this research position and justified Norton’s dismissal that way but then proceeded to hire his buddy from saint louis as research director and give him the crazy ‘decision scientist’ job title to get around the fact that he just eliminated that position? Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  3. stex52 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    As someone who has worked for large Anerican businesses for the last 36 years, I would be very surprised if that statement holds up as an implied contract. I imagine he is just seeing if they will give him a separation package just to go away.

    If not, Luhnow has a pretty easy case to make that he was fired on performance grounds.

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