The Houston Astros promoted bench coach Joe Espada to manager on Monday as he will take over for the legendary Dusty Baker, who retired at the end of the team’s playoff run.
It will be Espada’s first opportunity to become a manager. He served as a coach for the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees before joining the Astros’ staff in 2018.
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“I’m humbled by this,” the 48-year-old Puerto Rico native said. “This is a dream come true. I just can’t express my feelings about how happy I am to get to stay here and manage this team.”
He is the second Latin-born manager in Astros’ history. The first was Preston Gomez, who managed the Astros in 1974 and 1975.
Espada has tried for other managerial jobs over the past several years. He said when Baker retired, he was hopeful about getting a shot at leading the team.
I really hoped that I was going to get a chance to stay home and manage this team,” he said. “I love this city. I love this team. I love this community and I know I can protect and continue success and continue winning in this city.”
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Houston has been the class of the American League for the last seven years, making it all the way to the league championship series in each of those years. The Astros have come away with two World Series victories, the last coming in 2022.
The team was eliminated in the ALCS this year by the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers.
“We wanted to continue the success here in Houston. … We came up with the right man for the job. Our fans deserve it,” Astros general manager Dana Brown said.
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“I was looking for someone with leadership skills, someone who could communicate, someone who would collaborate and ultimately someone who was humble,” he continued. “I’ve had a chance to talk to Joe Espada almost the whole year and we’ve had great conversations, we hit it off early and I think, without a question, Joe is a good fit for this job.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.