The Houston Astros Tossed A Band-Aid Into A Flowing River Of Blood

Manager Brad Mills was fired last night. No longer shall he be burdened with holding the rudder of the one-player-currently-making-more-than-$750,000-Houston Astros. The team announced the move via email last night, following a particularly Houston Astro-ish loss to the Diamondbacks. Houston also sent the hitting and first-base coaches packing.

The Astros got off to a rough start again this season but really went into a tailspin during the summer after trading several high-priced veterans mostly for prospects. They have slashed almost $40 million from their opening-day roster and have a remaining payroll of just $21.3 million.

The Astros have gone 7-32 since trading Carlos Lee and beginning a fire sale that pared the payroll down by some $40 million. None of that is the manager's fault, obviously, but no one should feel bad for Mills either. Sometimes changes need to be made. But why bother firing him now?

Maybe new owner Jim Crane and first-year GM Jeff Luhnow expect more out of their $21 million roster?

"We made a lot of trades and once we made that decision - Jeff started moving some of the talent - we knew we might slide back a little bit, but we didn't think it would be this bad,'' Crane said recently.

Tony DeFrancesco, the organization's AAA manager, has been named interim head coach. Good luck Tony. Just remember, there is apparently a limit to just how bad things can be.

Astros fire manager Brad Mills and 2 coaches [SI; AP]
Astros name DeFrancesco as manager, replacing fired Brad Mills [Houston Chronicle]