After a thorough investigation into the Houston Astros, Major League Baseball found the franchise guilty of electronically stealing signs during the 2017 season, and with that imposed various penalties.
The Astros were fined $5 million — the maximum amount permitted under the Major League constitution — general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended through the 2020 World Series, and the team forfeited first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.
Astros owner Jim Crane, who was absolved by MLB’s findings, promptly fired both Luhnow and Hinch. Early speculation had Houston likely turning internally, specifically to bench coach Joe Espada, to fill their managerial vacancy.
But according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros’ search for a new manager will also involve the likes of Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter and Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibañez, among others:
Espada, Bochy, Baker and Showalter are among the candidates Crane is considering, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday. Other names on the team’s early list are former Rangers manager Jeff Banister, Cubs third-base coach Will Venable and Dodgers special assistant Raúl Ibañez.
Ibañez enjoyed a 19-year career that was primarily spent with the Seattle Mariners but also included time with the Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, L.A. Angels and New York Yankees.
Despite not yet officially being retired, Ibañez was a finalist for the Tampa Bay Rays managerial position in 2014 but withdrew his name from consideration. Tampa Bay ultimately hired Kevin Cash, who remains in the position at present time.
The Dodgers hired Ibañez alongside Greg Maddux in February 2016. He again was a candidate to replace Joe Maddon last October, though this time with the Chicago Cubs. Ibañez went on record to say this offseason was not the right time for him to ascend to a managerial position shortly after being linked to the Cubs’ search.
While he may not yet be interested in leading his own team, Ibañez continues to receive interest in large part for his ability to relate and communicate with players, especially with his ability to speak multiple languages.
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