The Houston Astros named their successor to former General Manager James Click last week appointing the former vice-president of scouting Dana Brown who was most recently with the Atlanta Braves.
Brown joins the Astros fresh from their 2022 World Series win in November when they parted ways with Click shortly after.
|What||MLB 2023 Season|
|Where||Various venues across the USA|
|When||30th March - 1st October|
|How to watch||BT Sport|
|Odds||LA Dodgers 6/1, HOU Astros 6/1, NY Mets 7/1, NY Yankees 8/1, ATL Braves 9/1, TOR Blue Jays 9/1|
Astros owner Jim Crane says he went through a vigorous and detailed interview campaign to search for James Click's successor and Brown fitted the bill.
Crane had discussed in interview the role with former Miami Marlins GM Michael Hill, former San Francisco Giants GM Bobby Evans and Cleveland Guardians assistant GM James Harris.
However, it was Brown who won the job and Crane was delighted. Speaking to the official Houston Astros website he said: “When we did the complete evaluation, he's the perfect fit for us.
Brown had been the Braves vice-president of scouting for over four years and his 2019 picks in the MLB draft were a windfall. The Braves obtained centre-fielder Michael Harris II in the third round, projected shortstop Vaughn Grissom in the 11th round and Shea Langliers, the centrepiece of Atlanta's trade for Matt Olson, in the first.
Brown replaces Click, whose contract expired after the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Philles in the World Series. Negotiations fell apart with Jim Crane after he offered Click only a one-year deal, which Click rejected.
Before working with the Braves, Brown had worked as a special assistant to Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos whom Brown followed to Atlanta. They had also worked together in Montreal where Anthopoulos was a young executive and Brown was the scouting director.
Brown had interviewed for GM jobs with the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners in the past and that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had told him to stay positive and that his time as a general manager would come.
Speaking to the official Houston Astros website, Brown said: "I'm really excited for the opportunity and especially grateful for Jim Crane took an opportunity to say, 'Hey, I like this guy. I like what he's all about', and he's rolling with me.
"I know there are some special things going on here already and I really want to continue that and extend that long-term. I've been in the game for 33 years. Baseball is all I know. It's my entire life, so I want to empty myself into this city and the Astros fans and let Jim Crane know he made a special pick."
Brown has spoken to team manager Dusty Brown whom he has known for some time, he said: "Dusty is old school, he cuts it straight and I like it. And so that means I can cut it straight with him."
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Brown will inherit a team that is built to win and will be poised to make a third World Series title win since 2017 and attempting to reach the American League Championship series for the seventh season in row. The Astros are 13/5 for American League glory.
Pitchers and Catchers report in the 15th February, Brown will need to know all about the situation by then.
The Astros have most of their key roster pieces under contract for at least the new two seasons, with left-fielder Michael Brantley and catcher Martin Maldenado the exceptions.
The Astros have signed such core young players in Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve to long-term deals in the past, 2022 All-Stars, Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez are extension possibilities.
Brown said: "I'm coming to a winning team and a big part of what I want to do is sustain the winning long-term. We want to continue to build, continue to sign good players, continue to develop players and continue the winning success."
First and foremost the Astros will be looking to win their sixth American League West Division for the sixth time in seven seasons and Houston are 1/2 to do that, the only challengers could be the Mariners at 11/4 with the Texas Rangers, who have spent well again this winter at 17/2.
Click was successful for the Astros winning two divisional titles, and reaching the World Series twice, winning last year. Brown will need to be better than that to retain what some people are calling at Houston as a dynasty.