You take a long ol' nap and wake up and all hell has broken loose.
Long story short: Manny Acta turned down the Astros' offer to become the next manager, and has accepted an offer to become the Indians manager on a three-year contract.
So what happened, especially as it looked like Acta was going to be The Man for the last month?
There's no use surgarcoating what happened these last 48 hours. Drayton McLane refused to offer Acta a three-year contract. He offered two with a one-year option, and even the Cleveland Indians offered three, he held firm.
This is the first time McLane has ever attempted to hire a manager or general manager that was being sought by other clubs, and he refused to get into a bidding war.
Brian McTaggart has this quote from Drayton:
"We sure talked to him a couple of times, but never reached a decision. I just don't think it's appropriate to comment at this time. Just give us till not later than Wednesday. We had narrowed it to four good candidates and we're in the process of finding one of those."
The three remaining candidates are, presumably, Phil Garner, Brad Mills, and Dave Clark.
So what to make of this? I liked the idea of Manny Acta being manager of the Astros. I liked the idea of Acta being the manager more than I like the idea of Dave Clark being the manager. And Phil Garner. I'm still intrigued by Brad Mills. But Acta has a history with the Astros' organization, it sounded like he wanted to be here, and he is well-respected within the game. Manny Acta being manager or not being manager isn't what concerns me.
What concerns me is that Drayton wasn't willing to give a manager three years. That is the minimum length that should be extended. If Drayton is stung by having to give $800,000 to Cecil Cooper next year, then he shouldn't have picked up his option four innings into 2009. But don't let that bad decision influence the next decision and make it worse.
Three years. That's to the end of the 2012 season. At the end of 2012, Berkman is a year removed from his current contract. Carlos Lee and Roy Oswalt are free agents.
Ed Wade's next contract is up at the end of next season So is Drayton's offering of two years a way of tying Wade and this hiring together? Be competitive next season and get an extension? Lose 85 games and it's 2007 all over again, where the Astros attempt to be just like the Yankees. Only it's the 1980s Yankees.
Two years is not enough time to fix this team. I think most of us can agree it's going to be 2012 before the Astros are competitive, the earliest in which Lyles/Seaton/Bono/Dydalewicz might contribute. All signs point to the fact that the Astros aren't going to be very good in 2010 or 2011. So to give the manager two years makes absolutely no sense. If I was Manny Acta, I wouldn't take the job, either.
If I was Phil Garner, or Dave Clark, or Brad Mills, I would be on guard about how talks proceed over the next two days with the Astros. Because the overall long-term health of the organization is not behind this latest piece of news, in which Drayton flexes Maximus Stupidus.