What Do Astros Need in Next General Manager?

Well, it took long enough to conclude, but it finally happened. Ownership of the Houston Astros has now transferred to the Jim Crane group under the new condition and franchise price adjustment downward in exchange for Houston’s agreement to move to the American League West in 2013. Now all the specific questions come pouring in about what it all means in specific terms.

It didn’t take long to start getting answers, or confirmations, about what a lot of people thought might happen, Starting with very clear proof that Mr. Crane wants to go in a clearly new direction, his first actions were to fire longtime franchise baseball expert and franchise administrative icon Tal Smith from his job as President of the Houston Astros. Simultaneously, Crane and his new CEO George Postolos, also fired General Manager Ben Wade from his job as the man who ran daily operations of the club on the baseball side.

With the removal of Smith, it’s doubtful to certain that we will not again see the return of those two split titles president and general manager on the new organizational chart. With former Rockets man George Postolos now tall in the saddle as CEO, the Astros will be looking for someone to run the plan and daily operations of baseball as general manager. Based upon what’s been said, reported, and implied, so far, it isn’t hard  to see the surface requirements facing the next GM. As in all things baseball, only time will tell if the next “man” up is really getting things done or just appearing to take all the right steps under the working space, staff, and money made available to “him.”

I say “him” parenthetically due to the fact that there is an outside chance that the new Astros GM could be a woman if the club were to go with Kim Ng, a nine-year vice-president for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ng is a hot prospect among the streamlined Moneyball-Savvy younger people out there trying to break into the game as something close to the next Billy Bean.

More than likely, the next Astros GM will be someone like Native Houstonian Andrew Friedman,the current highly successful Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Rays. Word is out there, regardless of how reliable it may be, that Friedman would like to come home. He already knows about working with cash limitations and has successfully demonstrated his ability to overcome logic and still get his team to the World Series. If the guy’s available and affordable, why would you look elsewhere, but the new Astros leadership just may. If they do, then Assistant GM Thad Levine of the Texas Rangers may get a shot. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s what I see facing the new Astros GM, whomever it turns out to be as issues to keep in mind and be prepared to fulfill:

(1) Keep developing the scouting of prospects for the minor league system;

(2) Draft good players that the club can afford to sign;

(3) Keep the academy plans going in Latin America;

(4) Make sure we have scouts who are good at spotting pitching talent;

(5) Get the big club back to a competitive level asap without sacrificing the long-term future five years down the road;

(6) Stay the heck away from expensive multi-year contracts with marginal position players like Carlos Lee;

(7) Keep your efforts to rebuild as open and honest as possible. As the new GM, Houston fans are going to have to be courted into trusting you;

(8) If austerity in spending is the new (old) anthem, do what you can with CEO Postolos to make sure that the fans are getting an equivalently affordable product during these lean years;

(7) Get the Astros back into the playoffs in a sane amount of time, and that means five years, tops. Houston fans will not accept the kind of multiple decade downslide that the fans of Pittsburgh have been forced to endure with the Pirate. If that were to happen here. Houston fans would just stop coming to the ballgames, or else, they would move their baseball watching down the SW Freeway to the new home of the independent Sugar Land Skeeters;

(8) Never lie to us. Even if your lie sounds good to you, don’t do it. We will smell it before you can even haul your second thoughts and regrets to the rest room;

(9) Surround yourself with good people who you hear – and let this effort be about baseball results – and not your ego;

Handle these nine conditions, Mr./Ms. new Astros GM – and everything else should work out fine;

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2 Responses to “What Do Astros Need in Next General Manager?”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    …or be a cold, ruthless, heartless SOB with a midas touch for talent acquisition who can put a 90-win team on the field within three years and Houston will love you anyway.

  2. Pat Mulvihill Says:

    Pitching, speed, defense….

    Then more pitching.

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