The Astros remain without a general manager less than a month before the start of spring training. Owner Jim Crane fired former general manager James Click early in the offseason after Click turned down a one-year extension offer following a World Series win. That came after months of reported friction between the owner and the general manager, which left Houston’s front office in a state of uncertainty.
Crane doesn’t seem to be in a rush to sign a new baseball operations leader. Speaking to reporters tonight at the Houston Sports Awards, the owner indicated that he doesn’t feel pressured to make a move (link via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). “we are still lookingCrane said. “We’re scanning the crowd right now. No, look, we’re still working on it. We’ll take our time and make it right.”
Unsurprisingly, Crane didn’t offer many details about the ongoing search. He noted that he is considering candidates from both inside and outside the organization. Perhaps most notably, Crane said that he has not approached the Brewers about the possibility of interviewing former Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns for a front office position.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week that Houston was eyeing Stearns, who had worked for the Astros before landing the top job with the Brewers in 2015. Stearns held that job for seven years until resigning early this season. short. General manager Matt Arnold, his longtime top lieutenant, took control of the baseball operations department. Stearns, who is under contract with the Brewers through the end of the 2023 season, has remained available as a consultant to Arnold and owner Mark Attanasio. For any club to hire or even interview Stearns before the end of next season, they would need Attanasio to sign.
While Crane said he hasn’t contacted the Brewers as of yet, he didn’t specify if he planned to do so at some point in the process. Of course, it’s unclear whether Stearns, 37, would have any interest even if the Astros came close. When he announced he would be leaving the role in October, the Harvard grad firmly stated that he is “not going anywhere” other than Milwaukee anytime soon and stressed that he was seizing the opportunity to spend more time with his family with his burden of lightened work.
Some people are known to be under consideration for the Houston job. Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown, former Giants GM Bobby Evans, Guardians assistant GM James Harris and veteran Astros catcher and former Tigers/Angels captain Brad Ausmus , have been linked to the search in recent days. A USA Today report over the weekend stung Brown as the favorite, but Rome hears from a source that it’s still too early in the process for any individual to have firmly gotten ahead of the pack.