Sports

Astros Hire Rays Exec James Click As GM To Replace Luhnow

The Astros made the announcement a week after the hire of new manager Dusty Baker, in the wake of a sign-stealing scandal that led to the suspension and eventual firing of both former GM Jeff Luhnow and former manager AJ Hinch.

Jeff Luhnow
Jeff Luhnow during the 2019 World Series.

The Astros officially introduced James Click as their new general manager Tuesday, replacing fired GM Jeff Luhnow.

Click comes to Houston from the Tampa Bay Rays, after a sign-stealing scandal that led to the firing of Luhnow and Houston’s previous manager AJ Hinch. The move comes one week after the Astros announced Hinch’s replacement, Dusty Baker.

Houston beat Tampa last year in the playoffs, and as VP of baseball operations, part of Click’s job was to identify technology at a ballpark and determine its use. The new GM confirmed Tuesday that he did not see any evidence of sign stealing through technology last year.

“Through that process, I think we all got very comfortable that there was nothing going on that was under the table,” Click said. “In the years before that, there were obviously rumors of things going on and the commissioners report addressed that.”

The commissioners report indicated that in 2017, not 2019, the Astros used video replay review to steal signs.

Astros owner Jim Crane announced the addition of Click, who spent the last three seasons as the Rays’ vice president of baseball operations. The 42-year-old Click had been with Tampa Bay for the last 14 seasons.

The Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game and lost to Houston in the decisive Game 5 of the Division Series in 2019. Tampa Bay senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom was hired as chief baseball officer by the Boston Red Sox in late October.

Click graduated from Yale and wrote for analytics website Baseball Prospectus for several years before being hired by the Rays.

Click was involved in guiding and overseeing all aspects of the baseball operations department. His areas of focus were research and development, strategic planning and innovation.

Luhnow and Hinch were suspended for a year by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Jan. 13 after he found the Astros used electronics to illicitly steal signs during their run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. Crane announced hours later that Luhnow and Hinch were fired.

The Astros also were fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

Álex Cora, the bench coach for the Astros in 2017 and the manager who guided the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title, recently parted with Boston. Carlos Beltrán, singled out for his role in the cheating scheme while playing for the 2017 Astros, was let go as manager of the New York Mets last month before working his first game.

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