Pointing out that “when Tim Purpura gave Preston Wilson a one-year, $4 million deal in January, the contract was praised throughout Houston. Whenever players last that long on the free-agent market, the general manager who signs him has to wonder why the 29 other general managers took a pass.”, the Houston Chronicle’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz can barely believe what a wonderful owner those Astros have.
For the segment of the populace who will blame the Astros for not having a black player on the roster anymore, you have to understand just how disrespectful it would be to Wilson if the Astros had kept him just to fill a quota. Moreover, I beg a look at Phil Garner’s coaching staff. Bench coach Cecil Cooper, one of the most prepared black coaches in baseball, likely will become a manager someday because of the chance he has received from McLane.
Rest assured McLane will provide one of Cooper’s top recommendations when he becomes a manager – perhaps as early as this winter.
The Astros have done the admirable thing by letting a veteran of Wilson’s distinction go instead of having him rot on the bench. Wilson handled the news with class and dignity, which was to be expected based on his reputation.
Whether by coincidence or because of the decision, the Astros have taken off since Garner told Wilson he wouldn’t be a regular starter Aug. 1. From that day until the Astros designated Wilson for assignment, the Astros were 7-2 for their best run in more than two months. The Astros won three series in that span.
In baseball, you are judged by your stats and, at times, your contract. Because the Astros control Lane’s cheap contract for several more years, Wilson is gone and Lane is around. As long as Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff and Willy Taveras stay hot in that outfield, Lane will find his rightful place on the bench.
Wilson is far more accomplished, so the Astros should be praised for letting him go instead of making him sit on the bench with no chance of starting.