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The Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series less than a week ago. On Friday, general manager James Click left the organization after turning down a contract renewal, the team announced.

"We are grateful for all of James' contributions," owner Jim Crane said in a statement. "We have had great success in each of his three seasons, and James has been an important part of that success. I want to personally thank him and wish him and his family well moving forward."

On the surface, this seems pretty shocking. 

The Astros just won the World Series. They won the last two AL pennants and while many of the players were holdovers from the previous administration (Jeff Luhnow, who was fired in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal), Click had the reins since before the 2020 season started. The Astros just won 106 games and are pretty well set up to contend for another title next year. There really isn't much grounds to move on from the general manager here. 

Underneath, though, this isn't entirely surprising. Things were moving in this direction for a while. In fact, earlier this week we noted that Click was operating without a contract. He was at the General Manager Meetings in Las Vegas while Crane staged a press conference to announce a new one-year deal for manager Dusty Baker. 

Late in the regular season there was reporting on the matter that Click would likely be fired if the Astros were bounced from the playoffs early. Since they ended up winning the World Series, it appears that Crane felt like he had to offer a one-year deal here because firing a general manager immediately after winning the World Series has terrible optics. 

Regardless, this isn't from nowhere. Reporting during the season noted friction between the owner and general manager, notably -- via The Athletic -- "Stylistic clashes between the two, disagreements over the size of the baseball operations staff and concern from Click about other voices in the organization influencing the owner." 

Click is 44 years old and worked his way up the Rays' organization from an intern position to now being a World Series champion with the Astros. Surely, the one-year deal was viewed as a proverbial slap in the face. The two sides were reportedly set to meet on Friday and the easy connect-the-dots moment here is an attempted negotiation for a long-term deal from Click's side being met with Crane refusing to budge from the one-year deal. It's tantamount to a firing, even if Crane can phrase it as a bit of a resignation. 

Moving forward, Click will likely be able to find another job in baseball rather quickly. There aren't any general manager vacancies at present, but those tend to open up when there's a desirable candidate suddenly available. He surely has an in with the Rays and former colleague Chaim Bloom is the Red Sox president of baseball operations. He came up in Tampa Bay under Andrew Friedman, who is the Dodgers' boss. Even if he has to dip outside those he's personally worked with, his is a strong resume. 

On the Astros' end, they could promote from within. There are two assistant general managers (Scott Powers and Andrew Ball) in addition to a director of player development (Sara Goodrum), though all three of those employees were hired by Click last offseason. Surely if Crane was rubbed the wrong way by Click, he wouldn't want to hire someone Click hired barely a year ago. To that point, later in the day Friday, reports broke that Powers was fired by Crane (via Jeff Passan).  

Conceivably, former Brewers president David Stearns would be an option. Stearns was formerly an assistant GM for the Astros and less than a month ago moved into an advisory role with the Brewers. If he's in play, though, Crane would surely have his hands full in dealing with Steve Cohen and the Mets in competing for Stearns' services. 

It's still plenty early in the process and we'll hear lots of teams for Click and names for the Astros in the coming days, weeks and months. For now, the World Series-winning general manager is out less than a week after clinching the title.