If Jim Crane is actually in the market for a new general manager (and by God, he better be) put me down for Andrew Friedman, or bringing back Gerry Hunsicker, or you know, that other guy, I forget his name... Not Ed Wade I believe.
Lusting for current Tampa Bay employees aside, if Billy Beane's name were to surface as a candidate, he would certainly be in the mix. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports wonders openly if Beane is tiring of his time in Oakland. A lot would have to happen for Beane to become available. For one thing, he's signed through the 2014 season, and he even has a limited ownership stake in the team.
If Beane were willing to part with that security in favor of working for a team with better resources and a better shot at winning, it could sway him based on his highly-competitive nature. Are the Astros that team? They certainly don't appear to be right now, and the truth is - Beane's teams have contended in Oakland despite the franchise's limitations. But it must eat at Beane when he thinks of what he could for an organization that didn't have the same kinds of limitations as the Athletics do.
Do the Astros fall into that category? Certainly not in their current incarnation. It's nothing but an assumption at this point that the new ownership group in Houston will spend more, and spend smarter than the exiting one. It would stand to reason that at least for the first few years, Crane will want to separate himself from Drayton McLane and ensure that he doesn't get the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" treatment.
Unfortunately, even if Crane made it clear from day one that he will spare no expense in putting the Astros franchise back on the map, there are always other GM vacancies out there. As Rosenthal states, the Cubs and Yankees GM jobs may soon become available. Other teams that have no intention of changing their GM may opt in to the race to land a guy like Beane. He would be that coveted.
If Crane were to land Beane in this uber-hypothetical situation, and would give him the juice to put his talents to use unconstrained, the Astros could be well on their way to restoring their profile. Sadly though, many Astro fans will just be happy if the new GM's name isn't Ed Wade. Count me as a guilty party.