Yahoo- Earlier this season, Hinch called Alex Bregman, one of the Astros’ finest young talents, into his office. Hinch told Bregman he wasn’t in the lineup that day. Bregman did not take kindly to this, not out of disrespect but because, like Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, he carries himself with a competitive mean streak that imbues the Astros with the sort of attitude reserved for teams stocked with graybeards.
To explain, Hinch turned around and grabbed his Astros cap. He told Bregman that Gonzalez needed to play, and in order to figure out who would sit out, he put the candidates’ names in the hat.
“So you picked my name?” Bregman said.
“No,” Hinch said. “I picked Correa’s, but there was no way I was sitting him, so I put it back in.”
Okay so, the attention grabbing qualities of this story are pretty misleading. A.J. Hinch didn't actually make a semi-important managerial decision the same way that you would choose the order in your fantasy football draft. He simply used the whole "luck of the draw" act to attach a punchline to some bad news. Pretty genius way to soften the blow if you ask me. Alex Bregman was going to be annoyed no matter the reasoning for his benching, but it's impossible to reach your pissed off peak when a unfortunate interaction is kept light by humor.
The Astros' Manager and their top prospect are still in the beginning stages of their relationship so the jokes have yet to grow old, and thus are still capable of disarming an argument instead of escalating it. Sneaking in a laugh where a impassioned rebuttal should have be might serve as lighter fluid on the fire five years down the line, but since their season has been nothing short of a honeymoon stage, it was foolproof way to smooth the edges on this rocky conversation.
That being said, I wouldn't blame A.J. Hinch if he did pick his lineup out of a hat every now and again. Being a baseball manager must be exponentially more painstaking than watching a full 9 innings on television, and I consider that to be a nearly unattainable feat prior to the postseason. Considering all the decisions they are tasked with making on damn near a daily basis from April through (potentially) October, it's a wonder they don't resort to the flipping of their lucky quarter at least once an afternoon. I'm honestly a little disappointed that A.J. Hinch didn't just say "fuck it" and throw some names in his 'New Era', because with the way his team is rolling he should reserve the right to gamble on the premise that he's on too much of a heater for the odds not to fall in his favor.