Joe Espada grew up about 10 miles from Jose Berrios in greater San Juan, Puerto Rico. The pair might someday have a more substantial connection, too.
Espada has been contacted by the Twins about their vacant managerial post, a major league source said Tuesday, though no face-to-face meeting has taken place — Espada is busy coaching the Astros in the AL Championship Series — and no formal interview conducted.
The Twins are one of several teams to consider hiring the Astros’ bench coach. The former minor league second baseman, whose only previous managerial experience came in the Puerto Rican winter league, has also drawn the interest of the Angels, Rangers and Blue Jays, according to published reports.
It’s the second straight year that Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch’s top lieutenant has been interviewed for managerial jobs; Alex Cora, currently leading the Red Sox against Hinch and Houston in the ALCS, held the post in 2017.
The Twins, who fired Paul Molitor two weeks ago after four seasons as manager, have also interviewed Giants’ bench coach Hensley Meulens, a candidate for the Reds’ vacancy, and Cubs’ bench coach Brandon Hyde, in addition to their own hitting coach, James Rowson.
Espada, 43, never reached the majors as a player; as a second-round pick of the A’s in 1996, he bounced around the systems of seven different teams before turning to a scouting and coaching career in 2007.
Espada spent four seasons as the Marlins’ third-base coach before moving on to the Yankees, where he worked for four seasons.
He was a Rule 5 selection by the Twins in 1998 but didn’t stick with Minnesota and was returned to the A’s.
Espada was also a coach for Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, a team for which Berrios and teammate Eddie Rosario played.