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Legendary Houston Astros player Jeff Bagwell has continued to work closely with the organization in an advisory role since he retired.
On Tuesday, the former first baseman directed some criticism at the executive who helped build the Astros’ 2022 World Series championship roster: former general manager James Click.
Bagwell said that he believes the franchise overemphasized analytics during Click’s time in the front office.
“Personally, for me, I just think there are certain things that go on that the numbers can’t explain because this game is played by humans, man. It’s not played by computers,” Bagwell told reporters.
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Former Houston Astros player Jeff Bagwell is shown prior to Game 2 of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park on Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston.
(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
The four-time MLB All-Star went on to praise Astros manager Dusty Baker for his ability to understand his players on a personal level.
“And there’s a lot of things that go on. Stuff goes on in the locker room, on the field, at home. A lot of things that can happen throughout a year that means something, that affects players in certain ways, and being able to know that — and that’s what makes Dusty [Baker] so great, is he knows his players on and off the field. It makes it a lot easier for him to manage because he has the communication with the guys and understands them.”
Houston re-signed manager Baker to a one-year deal shortly after the World Series victory.
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Click and the Astros unceremoniously went their separate ways during the offseason. Click rejected a one-year contract offer from the team and opted to air out his grievances with team owner Jim Crane publicly.
“We’re different,” Click said of his relationship with Crane. “Jim is — well, look, let me clarify, there’s some things that we do very differently. There’s some things that we are very lined up on, and that’s going to be true of any relationship between a boss and an employee. I think he likes to act very quickly. In certain cases, I tend toward a more deliberate approach. He is very demanding, but he also gives you the resources to accomplish what he tasks you to do.”
General manager James Click of the Houston Astros raises his arm following a 4-1 victory in Game 6 to win the World Series at Minute Maid Park, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston.
(Harry How/Getty Images)
According to a report from ESPN, Click also had differences with Bagwell over the franchise’s farm system. But Bagwell’s opinion was apparently held in high regard by Crane, the report went on to mention.
“Jim [Crane] might trust [Bagwell] more than anyone,” one person told ESPN.
Former Houston Astros player Jeff Bagwell throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 2 of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park, Oct. 27, 2021, in Houston.
(Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Bagwell denied that he would take the reins at the Astros next general manager.
The 1994 National League MVP did not completely dismiss the value of analytics. He said it does have a place in baseball, just to a certain extent.
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“I think analytics is great for pitching,” he said Tuesday. “I think they can do a lot of things to help pitchers out — spin rate, different positions in your arm — just different things that they do in pitching I think are great, and we’ve done a great job developing pitching.”