The Astros Fan Blogger at Chron.com had an interesting post late last week.The gist of the post was that Drayton McLane had just fired Ed Wade and that he'd made the reader the general manager, then he wanted to know the first five things one would do as the general manager.
The blogger himself had some decent ideas, but I thought I would give my five suggestions. So as the new general manager of the Houston Astros, my first five actions would be...
!. Not taking the job unless Tal Smith is let go from his position. For years the rumors have been that McLane listens to Smith's advice more than anybody's when it comes to running the Astros. So if there's anybody out there that needs to be blamed for Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, the vacant farm system, Gerry Hunsicker's departure, it's probably Smith. So for the Astros to have any chance of improvement, he's got to go.
(Of course, this actually a prerequisite to my taking the job. So if this doesn't happen, I don't even take the job.)
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2. I put in a call to Gerry Hunsicker and ask if he'll come work as my adviser in the same position as he now has with the Tampa Bay Rays. The guy did good work with the Astros, and he's doing good work with the Rays. I'll put him to work with Bobby Heck on rebuilding the farm system. He'll become a key adviser as to talent. And as far as I'm concerned, he can have as much credit as he desires.
3. Not only is Cecil Cooper fired, but for the first time in McLane's tenure as owner, the Astros are hiring a legit major league manager. All of McLane's hires have been either untested first-timers (Terry Collins, Larry Dierker, Cecil Cooper) or second-time failures (Jimy Williams and Phil Garner). The one thing they all have in common is that they worked cheap. I liked Dierker, and would consider giving him another shot, but this team needs somebody who has success as a major league manager and is used to working with overpriced slackers like Carlos Lee. Thus I'm putting in a call to Davey Johnson. Johnson won a World Series with the New York Mets and he got the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles into the playoffs -- the Orioles are a good example of an aging team of slackers that Johnson got to work as a team.
4. Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt are on the trading block. I'm a big fan of both, but they're about the only commodities on this team that will fetch the team young talent. It's useless trying to put Carlos Lee up for trade. Only a stupid team like the Astros would offer a slacker like Lee the money that the Astros did. Besides, Lee has made it clear he wants to stay here. After all, what other team would let him skip out on spring training so that he could go to the rodeo?
5. I wouldn't sign Miguel Tejada or Jose Valverde to contracts this off-season. And as much as I want the draft picks, I don't even offer them arbitration. I want them off of this team. I want them goodbye forever.