Astros icons Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell will continue in their roles as part-time members of the team's front-office staff, according to new owner Jim Crane.
Since Biggio and Bagwell retired as players, they have been employees of the club under personal-services agreements (Bagwell also served as team's hitting coach in the second half of the 2010 season). They serve in a wide variety of areas including player evaluation and instruction, as well as ambassadors for the team.
With their contracts set to expire at the end of February, Crane ended any questions about their future, saying he plans to continue the arrangement with the two greatest players in the history of the franchise: "I want them both around. When you look at the number of games played, those two guys' names stand out. We'd be foolish not to have them involved if they want to be here."
In addition, Crane may, in time, add another familiar name to the mix: Roger Clemens. Clemens pitched for the club from 2004-06 and later agreed to a similar personal-services deal with the club. But Clemens, who is awaiting trial on perjury charges for allegedly lying to Congress about steroid use, has not been an active member of the Astros' front office.
"The contract's still in place," Crane said. "We'll honor any contract that's in place and he's still under contract with us."
However, Crane did not sound as if the team will be reaching out Clemens any time soon.
"I haven't talked to Roger," Crane said. "The phone lines are open whenever he wants to call. We may reach out to Roger. You know he's got a little work to do in the court system yet and we hope that goes well for him."
Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, has not responded to an email requesting comment.
Crane made his remarks after a news conference Wednesday to announce that legendary club broadcaster Milo Hamilton will retire from the booth after the 2012 season.
Biggio, who attended the same press conference, has been coaching baseball at Houston's St. Thomas High School as well as working with the Astros since retiring following the 2007 season,
"I'm always an Astro," Biggio said about continuing his role with the club. "I'm not going anywhere."
Biggio, who collected 3,060 hits in his 20-year career (all with Houston), stands a good chance of getting voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the 2013 class. Bagwell, the franchise's all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in, received 56 percent of the vote in 2012 balloting and also has a chance at induction in 2013.
Bagwell was not present at the news conference but his agent, Barry Axelrod, who also represents Biggio, said the former first baseman also looks forward to continuing the relationship with the team. In addition to on-the-field evaluation of talent, Bagwell joined several telecasts of Astros games last season as an analyst.
"Jeff enjoyed doing the TV and he enjoyed working with young people," Axelrod said.