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Astros name Brad Mills manager

Brad Mills will be the next Astros manager. 

The former Red Sox coach, who has been Terry Francona's bench coach for the past six seasons,  was in Houston today for his third interview.

Mills has never managed in the majors before, but does have 11 minor league seasons of managing under his belt. 

He has a lot of work to do. The Astros struggled mightily this season, and now must confront an upset fan base and even some unrest in the clubhouse. 

Pitching fell apart as the season progressed, and the offense never picked up enough to counter the pitching weaknesses. The Astros ranked 27th in runs scored and 25th in on-base percentage.

Bottom line: The Astros need to bring in a reliable pitcher. It likely won't come in the form of a trade, in large part because their minor league system is weak. However, if they engage in talks with a team looking to move payroll, they could find a match.

Taking a chance on a veteran like Derek Lowe, who has averaged a little over 14 wins over the past four seasons, would give the Astros a little more stability.

All this won't be easy, considering the Astros have holes at shortstop and in the bullpen, not to mention finding an everyday backstop, unless once top prospect J.R. Towles can rediscover his swing.