Surprised? Not really. Late Wednesday, the four finalists for the Astros managerial opening were released through multiple sources here, here and here. Interestingly enough, none of the three news outlets had the same list of names, except Acta. More thoughts after the jump...
As I said, this is hardly surprising, since the list included one candidate with serious ties to the organization (Acta), one from a top-flight organization that Wade admires (Mills) and one possible internal candidate (maybe Clark?). The blogosphere is already abuzz that this is a move designed to keep Cleveland from landing Acta. If that's the case, though, why interview all these people? One theory that's been bandied about this blog in the last few days is that the Astros intend to bring on one or more of the candidates for roles other than manager.That makes sense on some levels, especially if the front-runner is the relatively-young Acta.
Still, isn't it the least bit surprising that Drayton hasn't been more involved to this point? Everything we've ever heard about his executive style says he's integral in all decision making. Why did he "leave the country" during the first round of interviews? Were these just courtesy calls to make Wade's friends and colleagues happy? Probably not, but we know with Drayton's inclusion that these are serious interviews now.
Let's discuss the candidates a little. If we believe the four listed by Mark Berman, the fan vote is definitely split between Garner and Acta. Since Clark was contacted by the Chronicle and said he hadn't heard about a second interview, I tend to give little credence to that list though. Instead, we know of two confirmed candidates in Mills and Acta. Mills would seem to have the edge in experience while Acta has the sabermetric-savvy attitude and is an easier sell to the Latino players on the Astros (as one Cleveland columnist pointed out here). Mills, however, has been through playoff battles with the Red Sox and has seen how to compete with a big budget and big markets. My vote, between those two, falls with Acta, simply because I want someone who's not going to have to learn on the job. Garner, if he's a finalist, would be too easy and has the same problem Clark ultimately will. Both embody the status quo of the team right now, and that needs to be shaken up.
We'll keep updating as more news filters out. With it being so close to the World Series, unless the Astros are planning on naming someone by this weekend, it may be a while before one of these guys gets the job.