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Bo Porter fired by the Astros

Sep 1, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT

Bo Porter AP

A couple of days ago Ken Rosenthal reported that there was serious tension between Astros manager Bo Porter and general manager Jeff Luhnow. I guess “tension” was an understatement, because Bo Porter has been fired.

In addition to Porter, bench coach Dave Trembley has been fired as well. The Astros have named minor league manager and longtime coach and player Tom Lawless as the interim manager. There will be a press conference at 2pm Central time. In the meantime, Luhnow has released a statement, which reads in part:

“Bo’s passion and energy are unparalleled, and his desire to win unquestioned. This decision was not made because of our current level of competitiveness in the Major Leagues. I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible. Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.

The rest of the statement can be read in Evan Drellich’s story at the Houston Chronicle. In it Luhnow clearly implies that the firing was based on communication and disagreements with Porter and/or Porter’s alleged deficiencies in dealing with the team’s young talent. Of course, given that Porter and Luhnow have been reported to have huge disagreements about things, it’s quite possible Porter has another story.

Porter probably had no chance from the get-go. The Astros were a total tear-down job and they were, as Luhnow’s statement suggests, set up to lose. While Porter theoretically had a long leash as a result, it’s hard to think of any other situations in baseball history where the caretaker manager during a rebuild was around by the time the team was competitive. And the Astros’ rebuild has been a longer-than-usual process with some time still left before the team can reasonably be expected to win. Even if there weren’t tensions here, Porter would’ve probably been replaced eventually.

  1. SocraticGadfly - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Do I get a hat tip? :)

    • SocraticGadfly - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      I guess providing breaking news links on a slow day doesn’t get one …

      @craigcalcaterra Luhnow cans Bo … your next blog post?— SocraticGadfly (@SocraticGadfly) September 1, 2014

      • drunkhistorian - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Are you really dense enough to believe this wouldn’t have been written up here without your tweet?

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        So desperately needy, didn’t mommy show you enough attention growing up?

      • SocraticGadfly - Sep 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        It might not have been up as soon; I have email alerts from multiple major newspapers in Texas and that’s how I saw it.

        Given your names, and the stupidity of the second one of you in the past, I’m not surprised.

  2. jre80 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    He seemed like the perfect fit as manager for that young of a team. Sounds like a power move to me.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Well, I suppose the fit depended on whether players liked the drill sergeant routine and whether you want a guy managing know-nothing rookies who wasn’t exactly the sharpest tactician (or even all that well-versed on the rules). I’m sure Bo will be back as a manager, though; the key in this job was to get the experience and catch on somewhere else when there is a better opportunity. Houston, as stated, was going to be an historically tough assignment.

  3. irishlad19 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    When the tension between the GM and Manager was first reported on this site a few days ago it was obvious ownership would have to choose between the two.
    So now he has.

  4. emdash01 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Given that the Appel situation revealed that the players were near open revolt against the front office (they overreacted, but there’s no way the players would bash that decision to the press unless they were already near the boiling point), this doesn’t seem likely to help. If they haven’t alienated and pissed off most of their players already, this should do it.

    • Paper Lions - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Actually, only one newspaper reported anything about that incident, and that newspaper has been targeting the Astros FO and ownership all year…indicating that it is likely they took an anthill and made it into a mountain. No other paper reported anything at all about that incident, because there really wasn’t anything there to report….the players didn’t over react, the news paper did.

      • emdash01 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Unless the quotes were fabricated, they still made those comments to reporters.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        What quotes are those? Feel free to cite them. It was a series of tweets by a “reporter” who can’t be bothered to fill out his own HOF ballot.

        Then, of course, there is this: who care’s what a 25 yr old player thinks about the promotion of a player or that player having a BP session with the MLB pitching coaches? No organizations should base player development decisions based on the feelings of other players because such players know approximately jack squat about player development….and these guys knew nothing about Appel’s situation nor had any basis for being pissed off.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        A couple of players making comments anonymously != a revolt against the front office. And as PL said, it was only one newspaper that reported anything about this “incident”. Scouts like Keith Law, Jim Callis, and Kylie McDaniel said it wasn’t an issue at all from everyone they spoke to.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Ownership has every right to set up a bullpen session for a guy they paid millions to sign. The players are paid to play, not to whine and complain about a bullpen session given to a fellow employee.

      Any players who have a problem with this are not focusing on their job and should be identified and shown the door.

      • emdash01 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Yeah, this is about the reaction I expected. Yes, the players overreacted. But their reaction doesn’t seem…odd to you? A sign that frustration had been building for a long time and would vent about anything, maybe? If you want to understand the situation, grumbling about ‘whiners’ is tremendously ineffective.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Ill refer you to the already made point, you idiot….

        If any players are grumbling about anything other than winning baseball games, they are not focused on the proper thing.

        They are paid employees with a specific job, do what they are told and play baseball. Nothing else. Not worry about how the front office gets along with their manager, not leak stories to the press when they sees something they don’t like.

        We’re talking about a group of won-nothings who collectively need to shut-up, ind their own business and get to f’in work.

      • emdash01 - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Ah, the internet tough guy, always a productive contributor to any discussion.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      Talking about Bo Porter like he wasn’t the guy who tried to pull a pitcher before he faced a batter…

      Talking about Bo Porter like he wasn’t the guy who flipped Tony Sipp from the mound to the OF and back to the mound in the same game not once but twice?

      The guy was a bad manager and deserved to be canned.

  5. kicksave1980 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    It’s hard to say without knowing the full inner workings, but it seems like the Astros fired the wrong guy.

  6. Paper Lions - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    The idea that Porter was doomed from the start is not consistent with available information. As Luhnow noted in his statement, like any organization, they want to provide a consistent message throughout the organization, which requires everyone that is a scout or coach to be on board with the organizational approach and philosophy. As has been reported previously, Porter did not appear to be on board with the organizational philosophy any longer (now was the bench coach, who was also fired), so he was let go so they can replace him with someone that is on board with the organizational philosophy.

    The point isn’t whether or not their philosophy is correct, but that organizations function better with a united approach/philosophy. If Porter (and Tremblay) disagree with that approach, then Houston was not the organization for them.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      As has been reported previously, Porter did not appear to be on board with the organizational philosophy any longer (now was the bench coach, who was also fired), so he was let go so they can replace him with someone that is on board with the organizational philosophy.

      I’m a bit shocked they didn’t hire someone a la Ken Macha and the Moneyball A’s, who would just be a lacky of upper mgmt. Porter didn’t seem to fit that role very well.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Apparently, Porter is very stat savvy. I think the main problem (as noted in the statement) was the culture Porter was developing in the locker room and that he couldn’t keep any disagreements he may have had with the FO private or that he wouldn’t execute the vision of the FO despite any disagreement.

        Like it or not, the days of a manager being the brains of a baseball operation are long gone. In essence, the main jobs are to manage personalities and to try to manage the roster to execute the organizational philosophy as best as possible. People love Joe Maddon, but it isn’t like he is managing based on his own personal philosophy, he is doing what the Ray’s FO wants him to do.

        I don’t know if that makes managers “lackeys”, but that is their job, to manage personalities and roster…not to devise strategies, but to enact them as best as possible.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        People love Joe Maddon, but it isn’t like he is managing based on his own personal philosophy, he is doing what the Ray’s FO wants him to do.

        I can’t speak from experience, but according to Keri’s book that’s precisely what is going on. The FO has one philosophy that they enforce throughout the organization, from Maddon on down. Again, I can’t speak for Porter, but if it became a mgr vs GM situation, the GM just threw down the trump card.

  7. tigers182 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    The Astros have the second worst record in the AL. He should be Manager of the Year with that AAA team.

  8. thehawg - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    I can’t believe Astro’s traded away Jarred Cosart. You can’t blame that on Bo Porter.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      You can’t believe the Astros traded away a mediocre pitcher? A guy who nearly walks as many is he punches out?

      I can’t believe anyone is trying to pretend that Cosart is anything but a 5th starter at best.

      • thehawg - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Have you heard what is doing for the Marlins?

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        33 innings ? and someone is yammering about it?

        Guy has a XFIP of nearly 4 for his career, has never shown anything in his minor or major league career to suggest he’s special.

        Talk to me in a year, when we can all chuckle at the idea that simple people actually thought him to be anything more than a back en starter.

      • thehawg - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        I hope your right that he will be a 5th starter on the Marlins, that would be a pretty good rotation.

  9. mantastic54 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    The mets seem hell bent on keeping terry Collins around until the team is competitive, which is looking like about 2018

  10. sportsfan18 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    This is why I thought it was bad for Ryne Sanderburg to take the Phillies job as manager.

    He’s wanted to be a manger for along time and he went and paid his dues and has coached for years and won in the minors, been a bench coach too etc…

    But he got his unlucky break with the Phillies.

    Of course Ruben doesn’t think the Phillies can or should be torn down to rebuild.

    Of course they’re playing like a rebuilding club is anyways… just paying a lot more for the same poor results as the Astros.

    And losing is tough, tempers flare and it’s difficult to last many seasons in that environment.

    G.M.’s and presidents interject themselves on managers more now than they used to in the game…

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      I don’t know why you are getting negative votes,but I agree Astros,philly,padres mariners,etc.should all be considered farming until you get your XP up to acceptable levels so you can take on the harder bosses in later levels.

  11. nottinghamforest13 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Countless times Porter was defended from criticism on this board & it was strongly implied that the only reason someone would have to criticize him would be racially motivated. By that logic the entire Astros front office must be bigots in light of this decision.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      someone would have to criticize him would be racially motivated

      Considering your previous comments of bullsh!t, a giant [CITATION NEEDED] for that comment.

  12. nottinghamforest13 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Porter was a throwback with a 1960s militant attitude. He had an axe to grind with anybody not abiding with his approach in lockstep. He took an “us v them” mentality and the clubhouse became divided into a number of factions. A change was long overdue. Good riddance.

    • emdash01 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      Criticism of Porter as a manager is not inherently racist. A person using the phrase “1960s militant attitude” for a black manager is, on the other hand, overwhelmingly likely to be racially motivated.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        Oh Look yet another liberal piece of trash calling someone a racist when they never said anything remotely racist what-so-ever.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        Yeah,look at his comment under mine. From his perspective Bo Porter is a Black Panther and he and his”kind” are keeping good elderly white people from going to a game in 100 degree heat in August.

        Is that Lib-tard enough for you Billy-Ray-Joe Stonewall the III?

  13. sdelmonte - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Never makes any sense to me to fire someone with a month to go. Clearly, we were in Dysfunction City.

  14. timmons94 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    good to see tough guy Porter get fired..his tough guy act of starting plunk wars like he did with Jed Lowrie is pathetic..

    that has to be a great job, that team is absolutely loaded with talent, but yes to whoever noted toe Cosart trade, that was insane

  15. roseann894 - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    The usual racism. He just couldn’t get along with others, but it must be some personal failing not the fault of others. Now the Astros can say “hey we’re not racist we hired a black guy” while firing him faster than they EVER would’ve fired a white guy, and avoiding ever hiring any more.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      What a racist post.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Lets list all the back managers of the Yankees over the years.

      See there has been…..gimme a second….

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        What’s your point?

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Madam,I do believe you just may be getting the vapors,you just lay on the fainting couch in the parlor and I will have a servant get you a Mint julip presently.

  16. NatsLady - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    I’m missing why Bo Porter is getting slammed for being tough on his team but Bob Melvin was praised for PUBLICLY slamming his, calling them “pathetic” and apologizing to fans. AFAIK, Porter never came close to that.

    Anyway, come back, Bo. It won’t be a manager’s job, but Mike will find something for you. You are much missed in DC.

  17. irishlad19 - Sep 1, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    In any type of organization, if a senior member of management doesn’t agree with policy decisions from the top they can be quiet and do their job, or resign, or mouth off about their disagreement and get fired.
    Porter choose the latter option.

  18. stampofdisapproval - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Bo knows baseball. The Astros front office don’t know didley.

  19. Mikhel - Sep 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    One would think MLB would have something to say regarding Luhnow’s acceptance that the losing record of the Astros is a strategy, and if they are fielding teams with the purpose of losing 60% of their games it would be akin to not doing their best effort as an organization so as to win a game, which in the MLB constitution is penalized with a lifetime ban from baseball… at the very least retire the money and draft picks MLB awards the Astros for their losing records, product of their strategy to have losing seasons.

  20. zdravit - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    First move for Lawless will be benching Chris Carter.

  21. drs76109 - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Porter, like Ryne Sandberg in Philadelphia, was likely “not ready for prime time” as a manager. It was evident during games with managerial decision making. Quite likely also “in the clubhouse”.

    However, this does seem like a “power move”, given when it was done, and I suspect that Luhnow will be gone at the end of the season. With Nolan Ryan there, it’s a new ballgame. If there was a way they could pry Ron Washington out of the sorry state that is the ballclub in Arlington, I suspect they’d do it in a minute. Strange that Luhnow would do it now because now the focus is going to be on him. Keeping Porter there to end of the season would’ve shielded him from that.

    • 76ersdoubletank - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I don’t think any argument can be made for Sandberg either way this year. I’m pretty sure that Rever/Byrd/Brown OF he’s had to work with would make any manager appear incapable of success.

    • 76ersdoubletank - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I don’t think any argument can be made for Sandberg either way this year. I’m pretty sure that Revere/Byrd/Brown OF he’s had to work with would make any manager appear incapable of success.

  22. runteddyrun - Sep 1, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Nats will take him back at 3rd!

  23. fbwangus8736 - Sep 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Step 1, fire the manager. Step 2 fire the GM after the season. Step 3 Nolan Ryan will step in as the new GM. Step 4 Astros will be bad until the end of time! Crap pulled this year has the smell of Nolan to it. Don’t be shocked when the new Manager is a Nolan buddy.

    • jeffa43 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Please explain crap that smells like Nolan..
      Curious minds want to know?

    • stex52 - Sep 2, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Nah, this move has Luhnow’s fingerprints all over it. He hasn’t had a stellar year himself. There is a split in the Astros management over Luhnow’s plans, which involve continuously taking losses now in the idea that they will be better later. The other faction, headed by Porter but representing some fraction of the scouts and player development people, wants to see more emphasis on racking up wins now for the fan base. Luhnow got the vote of confidence this time around from the owner. But I imagine he has a pretty short rope at this point. If he repeats some of his mistakes from this year in 2015, I expect he will be gone.

      Nolan Ryan is there for community relations. He won’t rock the boat because his son is president of baseball operations. But I would be interested to see where Reid comes down in this whole debate.

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