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Houston Astros GM Search: Team Gets Permission To Interview Tampa GM Andrew Friedman

Friedman, a native of Houston, has built the Rays into a perennial AL pennant contender despite minuscule payrolls.

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With hot stove season already almost a month old, the new-look Houston Astros are wasting no time lining up possible replacements at GM for Ed Wade, whom they fired on Monday:

The Astros have received permission to interview Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, according to officials with knowledge of the organization’s thinking.

Although the club has asked to interview "a handful" of others, Friedman clearly is the No. 1 choice to replace Ed Wade.

Friedman, a native of Houston, played college baseball at Tulane and worked in finance in New York City before joining the Tampa Bay Rays as a Director of Baseball Development in 2004. He became the Rays GM at the age of 28 in 2005.

He's widely credited with building playoff teams in 2008 and 2010 despite playing in the same division as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, whose payrolls dwarf Tampa Bay's. Friedman has been able to develop a strong line of cost-controlled young talent to compete at a fraction of the price.

While there are no indications he is interested in leaving the Rays, the Astros would present an opportunity to work for a much bigger-market team that would allow him to re-sign his own free agents. As Billy Beane proved in Oakland, even the sharpest GM can eventually be worn down by huge payroll disparities with his competitors.

For the latest hot-stove news on the Astros, check out The Crawfish Boxes.

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