Less than a week after officially assuming control of the Houston Astros, new owner Jim Crane fired the team's GM (Ed Wade) and president (Tal Crane) Monday morning.
"With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations," new team president and CEO George Postolos said in a press release. "We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal."
Wade was hired in 2007, after being the Philadelphia Phillies GM from 1998-2005. The Astros won 83 games in their first year under Wade, but their win totals steadily declined over the next three, going from 74 to 76 and ultimately 58 in 2011.
Even worse, despite dumping Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Michael Bourne and Hunter Pence for prospects over the last few years, Houston's farm system was ranked dead last in MLB by the respected baseball analytic site Fangraphs before the start of last season.
Smith had been team president since 1994 and had worked with the Astros for over 30 years.
Assistant GM Dave Gottfried will take over as the interim GM, but he is not considered a candidate for the vacancy permanently.
Houston, a big-market team with a huge fanbase and a deep-pocketed owner, should be an attractive candidate for many of baseball's up-and-coming front office executives, especially considering how much patience Crane is likely to have for a proper rebuilding job.
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