It was brought to my attention this morning by podcast co-host Colm that 3rd base coach Bo Porter will be leaving the team to become the manager of the Astros, starting next season. This is great news for Porter, of course, who gets his first managerial gig at the age of 40. He goes from rising star in the league of coaching to actual manager of a Major League team. Regardless of which team it is, there aren’t so many of these jobs out there (only 30, to be precise).
The question for us, of course, is what kind of loss this is for the Nats. From an outsiders’ perspective, I don’t see it as a big one. All reports suggest he is a good third base coach, and he hasn’t been involved in too many controversies. He isn’t either sending guys or not sending guys at a rate that has raised eyebrows. As long as they can put someone in there who does the same, they’ll be ok there.
In terms of being the future manager of the team, Porter was a definite possibility. But I don’t think anyone believed he was the leading in-house candidate – that position belongs to Randy Knorr, so it wasn’t a major blow to the future of the team, either.
The one place he might be missed is the clubhouse. I really don’t know what kind of relationship he has with the players, but as someone who just turned 40 and has only been out of the league as a player for 11 years, he was the closer to the players than most coaches in both regards. Rick Eckstein is a year younger, and he’ll be the only one near the players’ ages now. Randy Knorr is almost 10 years older than Porter, and the rest of the coaches are even older.
This is a group of professionals and the clubhouse is considered a strong one. I seriously doubt that Porter was the glue that held everything together. He will probably be missed on an individual basis as a well-liked and talented coach. And he’ll be missed even more if he takes the Astros to great places. But I doubt his departure will be a big deal for the Nationals.