Astros announce bench coach Joe Espada as new manager: 'This is a dream come true'

Joe Espada will take over as the Astros' manager.(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Joe Espada will take over as the Astros' manager.(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros announced the hiring of bench coach Joe Espada as their new manager Monday. Multiple reports emerged Sunday suggesting the team would hire Espada.

Espada will take over for Dusty Baker, who retired in October after the Astros were eliminated by the Texas Rangers in the ALCS. Baker managed 26 MLB seasons and led the Astros to a World Series championship in 2022.

The team officially announced Espada on Monday. He said he was "humbled" by the opportunity, and called the job "a dream come true."

Espada said he found out he got the job Sunday. He said it was "amazing" and "incredible" to get the call from team general manager Dana Brown. Espada spoke multiple times about his expectations for the Astros, calling them an "elite team." He added that the team still needs to improve in some areas, but sees the Astros as a team that "can win for many more years."

Brown spoke highly of Espada, saying he has "great leadership skills."

Espada, 48, played nine seasons of minor league baseball from 1996-2006. After retiring as a player, he worked as a coach for the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees before joining the Astros in 2018 under A.J. Hinch. He remained with the team when Baker took over as manager in 2020.

Espada has long been anticipated as a candidate for the position upon Baker's retirement. He's reportedly been considered for multiple manager openings in recent seasons and was a finalist for the Marlins job last season before they hired Skip Schumaker.

Espada will take over a team that's advanced to the ALCS in seven straight seasons and is expected to continue to compete for World Series titles.