General Manager James Click speaks to the Astros, but no new deal yet – ‘I’m optimistic’

LAS VEGAS — World Championship-winning general manager James Click said Tuesday he is in talks with the Houston Astros about a new contract, but has yet to reach an agreement with the organization, leaving the baseball champion’s engineer in limbo as the offseason season begins. .

Click’s contract expired on October 31, during the World Championships in which the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. He refuted the USA Today report that he agreed to a one-year deal, telling reporters, “We’re having discussions now. I think any time there are discussions it means it’s not complete.”

Click said he discussed a potential contract with Astros owner Jim Crane on Monday in the hours between the team’s championship review and his trip here for the annual General Managers’ Meetings. Calling a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Click said he found out “recently” after the team made the announcement, during which he is expected to announce manager Dusty Becker’s contract extension. When asked if Click was planning to be a part of the press conference, he said: “I plan to be here to try to put the team together for next year.”

Click, 44, joined the Astros after they fired general manager Jeff Lono in 2020 after it was revealed that the 2017 championship team was involved in a signal-stealing scheme. In his first job at GM, Click inherited a talented team that had been rocking in the aftermath of the scandal and helped stabilize the Astros, who declined to comment through their spokesperson when reached by ESPN.

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Sources told ESPN that philosophical differences between him and Crane have left many Astros front office employees worried about Click’s return. Despite making his World Championship appearance in 2021, Click entered this season as a lame duck. Crane has increasingly relied on advisors Jeff Bagwell and Reggie Jackson, both Hall of Fame players, according to sources. On this year’s trade deadline, ESPN reported earlier this week, Crane filed an agreed-upon deal that would land the Astros catcher Wilson Contreras From the Chicago Cubs for the right beginner Jose Urquidi.

“We are different,” Klick said. “C. Well, look, let me explain. There are some things we do very differently. There are some things that we line up a lot about and that would be true in any boss-employee relationship. I think he likes to act really fast. In some cases, I tend to To take a more deliberate approach. It’s very demanding, but it also gives you the resources to get what it costs you.”

Klick said he was not under the impression that Wednesday’s press conference would serve as a deadline for him to negotiate a new contract. He said his old deal switched to a career status at will, which allowed him to leave the Astros job for another team. Klick said he’d prefer the situation not turn out like that.

He said, “I am optimistic.” “My family is so happy in Houston. We settled in. I really love the city. The variety is amazing. I honestly thought during the show, that one of the most special things to me was just the crowd, and it just shows what a cosmopolitan city of Houston and its culture is. It was on full display.” The support the city has, I’ve never been part of anything like that. It was an addiction. My wife and I are really, really happy because our kids are happy. We feel totally settled. I really hope to come back.”

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World Championship-winning GMs rarely return after their victories. They rarely leave of their own accord. Former Astros assistant David Stearns resigned as head of baseball operations with the Milwaukee Brewers in late October, and while he is still under contract with the team, he is an exception. Perhaps Click’s closest peer, if he can’t come to an agreement, is Alex Anthopoulos, the longtime Toronto Blue Jays manager who left the organization after it appointed Mark Shapiro as team boss.

“The opportunity to work with the people at the Astros, ‘the opportunity to be part of that culture at that club to be around the players, the level of players that we have, is almost impossible to find,’” Klick said. In any job there will be good things and there will be bad things. You just have to take it all in a balanced way. “

Click refused to say what he was seeking in the contract, whether it was several years or more autonomy regarding baseball operations decisions. Managing a team with Crane’s involvement is an experience unlike his only other job in baseball, with the Tampa Bay Rays’ owner, Stu Sternberg, being much more than lazy.

“I only have another owner to compare it to, and he’s a little different from that guy,” said Klick.

The uncertainty didn’t seem to bother Click, who joined his contemporaries during a media briefing at Resorts World Las Vegas, where GM meetings are being held before the free dealership begins Thursday. Until then, free agents are only allowed to re-sign with their existing teams.

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The Astros will have a lot to do this winter, with the Ace Justin Verlanderfirst man base Yuli Gouriel and defensive player Michael Brantley between their free agents. Klick said that while the Astros would welcome Verlander back, the soon-to-be 40-year-old, who is expected to win the MLS Cy Young award, would be a coveted favorite among the rival teams.

Whether Click will even exist to follow Verlander remains in question. But after her exit from Saturday’s championship and the celebrations that followed, Click came to Las Vegas with a plan regardless of his career status. “I’m in a hotline,” he said. “Number I’ll go and hit the tables.”

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