What should Jim Crane do first?

Today, tweets rained down from some of the most reliable baseball people in the game confirming an agreement between MLB and Jim Crane to move the Astros to the American League come 2013. This has been understood as the final stumbling block before MLB would approve Crane as the Astros’ new owner. Expectation is that Jim Crane will be in complete control of the organization come Monday the 21st, this now begs the question, and so what’s next? What will Jim Crane do first to help bring stability to an organization in flux?

With most fans already unhappy with the anticipated move to the American League, something to please the masses might be a smart move. Would replacing Ed Wade be that type of move? Most fans aren’t very pleased with the work Ed has done over the past four years, whether his fault or not, and wouldn’t mind a change of direction. If a change were to happen, it would need to happen quickly with the winter meetings fast approaching. That would create another question, who then would take over as GM? Most fans would be elated to see Andrew Friedman in charge but his relationship with Tampa’s owner could be a deal breaker. That said there isn’t a shortage of good candidates ready to lead a team which makes this an attractive option.

One man who has been able to deflect some of the criticisms that Ed Wade has not is Bobby Heck. His drafts, while not bad, have not been the home runs this organization needed during this period. While he has done well with Jordan Lyles and JD Martinez, we are still waiting for at least one of his 1st rd. picks to do anything of consequence, either at the minor league or major league level. His drafts may end up producing quality major league players but at this point, that is up in the air. So does Crane keep Ed Wade but ask him to change up his scouting department?

While replacing components of the front office seems like a logical initial move, what about the on-field staff? A new GM or President may want to clean house and bring new blood to the most noticeable part of the ball club, outside of the players, and while you can’t blame Mills for the talent on field, he was part of a 106 loss club. The reality is that, while changing managers might be the easiest adjustment to make, a new GM might want to evaluate his staff for at least a season before making a final judgment.

Unfortunately for Ed Wade, while he hasn’t done a terrible job, he simply has not made enough positive impact moves to warrant another season. His signing and extensions have been primarily bad and while most of his trades have been good, he needed to hit a home run with the Michael Bourn deal but could only muster a solid double. I expect Crane already has a list of potential general managers and he will make a change fairly quickly. With Wandy Rodriguez expected to be a hot commodity during these winter meetings, whoever is in charge will have some work to do almost immediately.

Topics: Baseball, Bobby Heck, Ed Wade, Houston Astros, JD Martinez, Jim Crane, Jordan Lyles, Wandy Rodriguez

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  • centaurus

    Wouldn’t it be wise to keep Mills around? With the move to the AL just about final, we’d have someone with AL expertise and familiarity with the Astros ready to go. Keep Mills for the move to the AL, fire Wade to throw a bone to the Astros masses. That’s about the best Crane can do, Astros fans won’t be happy overall but firing Wade might score him a point or two in the respect ladder.

    • Alex Sandoval

      Keep Mills, sure, but Crane will probably do something fairly significant. I can’t see him just laying low and trading Wandy, considering most the casual fans left with Pence and Bourn. If he can get Andrew Friedman to come back home, the fans will immediately have a jolt and could help smooth things over. A dream scenario might be to hire Friedman as president and have him hire a GM to help him run the team, possibly Ng or Watson.

  • Pedro Alcocer

    Wouldn’t it be wise to keep Mills around? With the move to the AL just about final, we’d have someone with AL expertise and familiarity with the Astros ready to go. Keep Mills for the move to the AL, fire Wade to throw a bone to the Astros masses. That’s about the best Crane can do, Astros fans won’t be happy overall but firing Wade might score him a point or two in the respect ladder.

  • VictoriaNicole23

    Great article that you’ve put forth.An interesting issue about Crane.I think he pleased the masses would be the nice idea.

  • VictoriaNicole23

    Great article that you’ve put forth.An interesting issue about Crane.I think he pleased the masses would be the nice idea.

  • ElevateBaseball

    Here’s what I expect from Jim Crane when this whole thing comes to pass, assuming the angel on his shoulder continues to get pummeled by the devil on his other…

    That he will be apologetic is a foregone conclusion. That he will explain it in the same terms that Campbell did over the weekend with his marriage/honeymoon column… a business decision, and one driven by Selig’s prompting… is a foregone conclusion.

    That he will attempt to continue to push forward this myth that “he had no real choice”… if not explicitly, then certainly be implication… regardless of how all the pieces actually fit together, is a foregone conclusion.

    He’ll stand in front of a microphone and make this case. And he’ll throw all the remaining Stros fans a bone with a 3-year-or-so plan or words to that effect. He will recognize his need to sell himself and to hype his full intention to bring Houston a World Championship.

    His crocodile tear speech and pleas to accentuate the positive will be enough for a lot of people, I’m sure.

    And the media… recognizing their own downside if we don’t read, listen and watch things pertaining to the ALstros… will stand in his corner just as they’ve been doing for the most part. If he takes questions at his presser, don’t anticipate any particularly articulate and impassioned challenges. If us fans won’t give him a honeymoon, they most certainly will.

    Wait and see if it doesn’t play out exactly as laid out here.

  • ElevateBaseball

    Here’s what I expect from Jim Crane when this whole thing comes to pass, assuming the angel on his shoulder continues to get pummeled by the devil on his other…

    That he will be apologetic is a foregone conclusion. That he will explain it in the same terms that Campbell did over the weekend with his marriage/honeymoon column… a business decision, and one driven by Selig’s prompting… is a foregone conclusion.

    That he will attempt to continue to push forward this myth that “he had no real choice”… if not explicitly, then certainly be implication… regardless of how all the pieces actually fit together, is a foregone conclusion.

    He’ll stand in front of a microphone and make this case. And he’ll throw all the remaining Stros fans a bone with a 3-year-or-so plan or words to that effect. He will recognize his need to sell himself and to hype his full intention to bring Houston a World Championship.

    His crocodile tear speech and pleas to accentuate the positive will be enough for a lot of people, I’m sure.

    And the media… recognizing their own downside if we don’t read, listen and watch things pertaining to the ALstros… will stand in his corner just as they’ve been doing for the most part. If he takes questions at his presser, don’t anticipate any particularly articulate and impassioned challenges. If us fans won’t give him a honeymoon, they most certainly will.

    Wait and see if it doesn’t play out exactly as laid out here.

  • Stroscrow

    Crane will probably relieve Wade of his GM duties, and I’m not for sure if this would be the right decision or not. It is a little late in the game this offseason to go hunting for a general manager.

    I think the wait and see approach would be best for all personal, like the 1 year waiting period suggested in a comment below, but all should be kept on a short leash.

    Keep in mind on the draft that Uncle Drayton was very reluctant to spend over slot on players drafted, and I’m sure that affected the decisions of who the Astros take. Heck may not have been able to draft the player they wanted, but instead took the best player they thought they could get for the right price. Heck should be given the upcoming draft as I’m sure they’ve already been preparing for it and have a good game plan in place. If he and Wade botches this draft (with the 1st overall pick) then they should be removed from the equation quickly.

    Same thing goes for Mills. Mills showed a propensity to stick with veteran players last year (Jason Michaels, Angel Sanchez) instead of playing guys that could help for the future. I am not for sure if Mills is the right guy for these Astros. The Astros will need a manager that is good with developing younger players, and I’m not for sure that Mills is that guy.

    The thing that I am most satisfied with here is that the ownership situation will be settled and we wont have to suffer through the number 1 overall pick under Mclanes watch. If Crane wants to send a positive message to the hardcore fanbase then I would suggest to tell his people whoever they may be to take risks in the upcoming draft and go overshot to pay them if it will get talented players in the system. With the new CBA agreement likely to go into affect after this draft this may be the last chance to sign players overslot as there could very well be a hard slotting system in place.

  • Stroscrow

    Crane will probably relieve Wade of his GM duties, and I’m not for sure if this would be the right decision or not. It is a little late in the game this offseason to go hunting for a general manager.

    I think the wait and see approach would be best for all personal, like the 1 year waiting period suggested in a comment below, but all should be kept on a short leash.

    Keep in mind on the draft that Uncle Drayton was very reluctant to spend over slot on players drafted, and I’m sure that affected the decisions of who the Astros take. Heck may not have been able to draft the player they wanted, but instead took the best player they thought they could get for the right price. Heck should be given the upcoming draft as I’m sure they’ve already been preparing for it and have a good game plan in place. If he and Wade botches this draft (with the 1st overall pick) then they should be removed from the equation quickly.

    Same thing goes for Mills. Mills showed a propensity to stick with veteran players last year (Jason Michaels, Angel Sanchez) instead of playing guys that could help for the future. I am not for sure if Mills is the right guy for these Astros. The Astros will need a manager that is good with developing younger players, and I’m not for sure that Mills is that guy.

    The thing that I am most satisfied with here is that the ownership situation will be settled and we wont have to suffer through the number 1 overall pick under Mclanes watch. If Crane wants to send a positive message to the hardcore fanbase then I would suggest to tell his people whoever they may be to take risks in the upcoming draft and go overshot to pay them if it will get talented players in the system. With the new CBA agreement likely to go into affect after this draft this may be the last chance to sign players overslot as there could very well be a hard slotting system in place.

  • Joanna Wilson

    For sure they want him to maintain to thrust further this allegory to facilitate that he has no choice.. if not clearly, then definitely be allegation… in spite of how the entire pieces really well as one, is a inevitable ending.

  • http://www.veloxtelco.com.au/ Stephanie Barnes

    For sure they want him to maintain to thrust further this allegory to facilitate that he has no choice.. if not clearly, then definitely be allegation… in spite of how the entire pieces really well as one, is a inevitable ending.

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