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Astros fire manager Brad Mills after less than three seasons

Aug 19, 2012, 12:33 AM EDT

brad mills getty Getty Images

Brad Mills was hired before the 2010 season by Drayton McLane, who is no longer the Astros’ owner, and Ed Wade, who is no longer the Astros’ GM. So he’s been a sitting duck under the new regime.

And a 39-82 record sure didn’t help matters.

Mills was let go on Saturday night following an ugly eight-run loss to Arizona, along with hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham.

Interims for those positions will be named Sunday.

Mills, a first-time manager, went 171-274 in just shy of three seasons with the ‘Stros. His roster was sapped of talent over the past two summers as the organization began a frantic rebuild, but that brutal winning percentage means it will likely be a little while before he’s given another try as a major-league skipper.

The Astros are moving quickly to change the look and feel of the organization under new owner Jim Crane and new general manager Jeff Luhnow. They’ll move into the star-studded American League West next season, and recently submitted a more “traditional” uniform redesign to the MLB offices for approval.

It’s a club under a complete renovation. A renovation that isn’t attracting many spectators.

  1. dalucks - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    He might have been a better coach if they did not trade away all of the talent on the team. It is extremely hard to win without anyone who his hitting over .300 in your starting lineup. I wish him better luck and personal on his next job.

    • wizzrdofaz - Aug 19, 2012 at 5:31 AM

      You are absolutely correct. The team he was hired to manage was sold or traded out from under him by the current management. What do they expect?

    • raysfan1 - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      He was hired as cannon fodder from the start. The Astros had been putting off a total rebuild for years when they hired him. Even without the change of ownership he had no chance.

  2. hammyofdoom - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    While I understand that this is a new regime and they’re going to want “their” guy in the managers chair next year firing Brad Mills is like putting a new coat of paint on a 1993 buick century. Sure there will be some cosmetic changes, rust has still chewed on that thing down to the core though.

    • 78mu - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      Plus they fired the first base coach. That’s the move that will really turn things around. People can argue all day about how important a manager is and how many wins they contribute each season. But the Astros have figured out the key is getting the right first base coach out there.

      Who knew it was Dave McKay and not TLR that was responsible for all those wins? I mean besides the Astros?

  3. okwhitefalcon - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Smart money says Joe Pettini gets the interim gig.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to hear the names Oquendo and Riggleman in the mix for the permanent job.

  4. fatcatt - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    How can they fire him with the players they provided? If they seriously think someone else can do better with this team then they are either total idiots or know nothing about baseball. They traded every decent player they had which wasn’t many. What did they expect? Unbelievable! This franchise with his new owner is going to be worse than I originally thought it was going to be. How about fire the GM? He’s the one that makes the team. Why wasn’t he fired? What a joke!

  5. Old Gator - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    What, exactly, did the new owners expect him to accomplish with this bunch? They stripped his team down to AAA or even AA level talent and threw them at the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates. They could have excused them from urine testing for the entire season and it wouldn’t have mattered.

  6. randygnyc - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Hat- (ring)

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:31 AM

      I thought that you wanted a GM position Randy.

      • Old Gator - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Naahh. In the words of the immortal (though dead) Humphrey Bogart, “Randy wants more.” He’d be the second George Steinbrenner if they gave him a chance. Ownership or northing, Randy. Compromise is the Devil talkin’.

  7. andrewproughcfe - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Mills should thank them for sparing him further pain and embarrassment. He and his coaches were class, professional guys – can’t necessarily say that for the remainder of the organization.

    Can’t wait to see which Houston-area team gets its head kicked in worse in their new conference/division next year – Texas A&M football, or Astros baseball. Could be a race to the bottom between the two.

  8. brewcrewfan54 - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Why now? For having a team with only about 3 guys on it still who are actual Major Leaguers he deserved to at least finish the season. Maybe he’s not to sad about it though.

    • paperlions - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Why now? Because you need to have the positions open early so that you can interview all the available candidates and offer them a job before other jobs even become open or when they are early in their search.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        That’s always the dumbest excuse. This job is crap and will be crap for the next few foreseeable years. There’s nobody out there right now who wants this job that they couldn’t wait until after the season to hire.

      • paperlions - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        Okay, smart guy. Then when would have been a better time? Being as you work for a MLB club and understand so well when the best time is to make such moves.

      • stex52 - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        What quality prospect would have a remote interest in the job? They do not even qualify as a particularly good AAA team as presently constituted. Help is three years away if they are lucky. Management has proven itself capable of firing people and not much else.

        I have given up trying to find a reason to go to their games.

        I have known my share of managers who thought if they were mean sons of bitches that made them smart. We will have to see with Luhnow, but he seems to fit the mold.

        So long Brad. Go try to find a professional organization that will give you a chance.

  9. sportfan23 - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Stay classy Astros

  10. hittfamily - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Soscia is next. Or at least he ought to be! 8-0? OUCH!!!

  11. timb12 - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    He’s the lucky one who gets to jump ship. The players are probably mad they haven’t been cut. They’re stinking it up the best they can.

  12. gaykegayden - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Hey dalucks. I hate to be direct and to the point, but I’ve told you here as well as the Houston Chronicle website. STOP POSTING ABOUT HOUSTON SPORTS!! Whether it’s beating the sh*t out of a dead horse(the Texans should sign Terrell Owens), demonstrating a complete lack of football knowledge(Kubiak should be more “aggressive” even though he has the best running back tandem in the league), and an absent mind regarding Houston sports in general(What .300 hitter do you speak of? The Phillies just shipped off Hunter Pence for WAY less than what they gave up plus the Braves have let it be known they are not re signing Michael Bourn), you have TIME AND TIME AGAIN made true Houston fans look like complete morons with your mindless dribble. Brad Mills was not hired by Jeff Luhnow or Jim Crane, so he’s being let go now versus playing out a lame duck season when said result will happen regardless. Big deal. Shut up, stop, move if in some crazy reality if you actually live here.

    GG (Gayke Gayden)

    • hammyofdoom - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:13 AM

      Wow, that escalated quickly. Things got out of hand very fast

    • houstonsucks - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:19 AM

      “made Houston fans look like complete morons”?

      By definition, aren’t they already complete morons just for BEING Houston sports fans?

      Loserville.

    • andrewproughcfe - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      Principal: Mr. Madison, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      Billy Madison: Okay, a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine.

      • gaykegayden - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Aw how cute. What an obscure reference from a movie no one’s ever seen before. I just LOLed.

    • hittfamily - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:45 AM

      Dalucks?

      Is that your governors weekend ranch?

      Wait, no, his ranch is “Niggerhead”. Nevermind.

  13. rollinghighwayblues - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Mills got handed a turd and was expected to turn out a diamond; a no-win situation. Pun.

    I do have to say that Mills did plenty of things that made me question his managerial skills. I caught plenty of Astros games and it seems that whenever the Astros were within striking distance or preserving a precious lead, Mills would make a boneheaded move that seemed to hinder the team and consequently play a huge role in them losing the game.

    Best of wishes. I’m sure after this season, he can probably get back with the Red Sox in some form or fashion.

    • crisisjunky - Aug 19, 2012 at 3:33 AM

      Rolling, you weren’t the only one who caught plenty of Stro’s games…
      Jason Castro.. Humberto Quintero… Carlos Corporan…….

  14. db105 - Aug 19, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Mills’ hands were tied. Impossible to win with very little talent. If there’s a MLB manager that needs to be fired it would Angels manager Mike Scioscia. A team loaded with talent. Talent like Trout and Trumbo that he didn’t want to use for the first month of the season and Morales that he plays part time. Give Mills the Angels roster and he’d probably do better than Scioscia.

  15. jrocknstuff - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    okwhitefalcon – I can’t see any way Riggleman gets another high after walking out on the Nationals in the middle of the season because he wasn’t happy with his personal situation. I truly believe that massively selfish act cost him any future managerial job. At least it should have. Truly bad marks to the club that gives that jackass another shot

    • realgone2 - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:34 AM

      Agreed. We will never see him again.

      • Old Gator - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        Not even on ESPN? Isn’t that where failed or discarded managers go to die?

    • realgone2 - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      I don’t follow the astros that well. What happened to them? They almost seemed to be on the cusp of having a good run.

  16. jrocknstuff - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    “gets another shot”

    Auto correct :(

  17. realgone2 - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Ummm? Why?

  18. chill1184 - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    They should’ve let Mills finish the season then let him go. I understand that the new owners want to tear the whole thing down from top to bottom but they can do it in less douchebag ways.

  19. southofheaven81 - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    God I can’t wait until next year. They take the worst team in the NL & stick them in the AL! This is going to be amazing, they won’t even get 20 wins!

    Seriously, I couldn’t have been, I dunno, the Rockies or a team that would have been mildly competitive?

  20. polegojim - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Houston Fans… there is a bright side. At least Houston front office and ownership are taking drastic measures to try and become competitive.

    Colorado Rockies = 45-73, the 2nd WORST team in baseball…. and nothing will change.

    Next year will be the same ole-same ole and… no one will care.

  21. buddaley - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    I do not follow Houston very closely so I don’t know any details about the situation. But I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Firing the manager probably had little to do with this year’s record. it is common for new ownership/management to clean house. There are many possibilities for why it was done now. Likely they decided Mills did not fit into the system they were trying to create and want to get the overhaul started now.

    As for selling off all their talent, it seems to me they have done everything exactly right. Few if any of the players they dealt had any role in the future success of the Astros so the smart move was to get what they could for them. From what I have read they have done a terrific job acquiring talent for the unimpressive players they sent away. And they apparently had an excellent draft as well.While the immediate results are lots of losses, in the long term they are preparing to be competitive. That is much better than constantly striving for mediocrity by signings like 3 years of a relief pitcher (Lyon).

    • stex52 - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM

      Mostly speculation at this point. We won’t know about the draft for three years. As to the prospects, certainly no immediate help. They are dead in the water for an extended period. And that is if Luhnow is right. If he isn’t, God help them.

  22. theboysofdallas - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Shut up catfatt u have no idea what ur talking about, they have so much good and young upcoming talent, maybe u should do some research before going on ur little rants

  23. taxed00 - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Someone from the Astros’ organisation should give Terry Francona a call and ask if he feels like coming back to the majors in 2013

  24. willclarkgameface - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I love how this was the answer. Sure, let’s fire the manager that has been given a AAA team to play against MLB opposition in a division where the top three teams – your chief opponents in this ridiculous unbalanced schedule (different topic, different day) – are damn good teams.

    This makes no sense. They should have let him ride out the remaining 40 games and called it a day.

    And if you thought this season was bad, we’re looking at 1962 Mets territory next year when they have to regularly face the Angels, Rangers, and yes, even the A’s. Good luck Astros fans with another miserable year and what sounds like a return to miserable uniforms. Bring back the 1994 colors!

    • paperlions - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Apparently, you don’t understand how the sale of a club, and associated complete rebuild of an organization works. Unless Mills showed them that he was exactly the kind of guy they wanted as manager, he was gone.

      • buddaley - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Exactly.

      • stex52 - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:02 PM

        Paper, I usually agree a lot with you. But if you think they ever wanted to anything with Brad Mills but set him up for a fall, you are mistaken.

  25. billymc75 - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Terry Francona anyone?

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