Houston Astros legend Jeff Bagwell has continued to work closely with the organization as a consultant 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 he thinks the franchise overemphasized analysis during Click’s time in the front office.
«Personally, for me, I think there are certain things that happen 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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The four-time MLB All-Star praised Astros manager Dusty Baker for his ability to understand his players on a personal level.
«And there are a lot of things that happen. Things happen in the locker room, on the pitch, at home. A lot of things that can happen over the course of a year mean something, that it affects the players in a certain way, and to be able to know that, and that’s what makes Dusty [Baker] so good, he knows his players on and off the field. It makes it a lot easier for him to drive 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 parted ways unceremoniously during the offseason. Click turned down a one-year contract offer from the team, opting instead to publicly air his grievances with team owner Jim Crane.
«We’re different,» Click said of his relationship with Crane. «Jim is, well, look, let me clarify, there are some things that we do very differently. There are some things that we are very aligned on, and that will be true of any relationship between a boss and an employee. I think he likes to act very quickly. In certain cases, I tend to take a more deliberate approach. It’s very demanding, but it also gives you the resources to accomplish what it puts you to do.»
According to an ESPN report, Click also had differences with Bagwell over the franchise’s farm system. But Crane apparently held Bagwell’s opinion in high regard, the report said.
Jim [Crane] could trust [Bagwell] more than anyone,» one person told ESPN.
Bagwell denied that he would take the reins as the Astros’ next general manager.
The 1994 National League MVP didn’t completely discount the value of analytics. He said that he has a place in baseball, only up to a point.
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«I think analytics is great to launch,» he said Tuesday. «I think they can do a lot of things to help pitchers — spin rate, different arm positions, just different things they do when pitching — I think they’re great, and we’ve done a great job developing the pitch.»