If you're like me, you're just dreading this Astros off-season because you know, just like I know, that Drayton McLane is going to make nothing but bad decisions. The worst decision to be made will probably involve the manager position where the favorites for the job appear to be Jim Fregosi -- an old guy who is a pal of Ed Wade and is awful with young players -- and Dave Clark who so far, as interim manager, has not impressed.
Now if Drayton is really serious about fixing all that is wrong his team, there are a couple of names he would call who would probably be happy to take over the challenge of fixing this team. The only problem is that the guys who would do this job, and do it good, would want to have complete and total control of the team, which would mean that not only would Ed Wade and Tal Smith have to go, but Drayton McLane would have to shut his mouth and stay out of the way. And there's just no way that that's happening.
But, just in case, I'm sure one of these guys would like the chance.
For instance, it's beginning to look like Nolan Ryan is not going to be part of the new Texas Rangers ownership group.
So it's possible he might be willing to depart the Rangers and return, yet again, to the Astros as team president. He's been helping with the renaissance of the Rangers, and the pitchers are buying into his ideas about pitching. And if there's any team that needs help with pitching, it's the Astros. Plus, the minor-league clubs that he and his kids have been running are rather successful, so perhaps he can make the Astros business operations a bit more fan-friendly.
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SHOW ME HOW
Or he could give a phone call to Buck Showalter. I'm sure that Showalter would like another shot at building a winning franchise. But here's the thing with Buck Showalter. He's going to want total control. He took over with the Yankees at a time when MLB was not allowing George Steinbrenner to have any say in the running of the franchise, so he stopped signing expensive free agents, restocked the team's far system, and put in place a team ready-made for Joe Torre to take into the World Series year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year. And Showalter was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks two years before that expansion team took the field. He chose the players for the team, stocked the farm system, and had that team in the playoffs in just its second year of existence. He wasn't as successful with the Rangers, but he still left that team full of talent.
Then there's this guy in Tampa Bay who goes by the name of Gerry Hunsicker. He once worked for McLane, and he did a rather decent job of keeping that team in the playoffs despite the interference of McLane and his flunkies.
McLane might also want to talk to people involved with the Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins, both teams that, despite small-market status and low payrolls, seem to find a way to compete every year.
But who am I kidding? None of that is going to happen. Not while Drayton McLane is in charge.