What kind of Domino Effect will Jim Crane have on the Houston Astros?

The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes. It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small.

 

Riddle me this Astros fans!

 

What new owner could have a dramatic affect on the future of the Houston Astros? This particular owner could pry away one of the biggest names in the General Manager circles and could re-unite an old friend with his old organization. Will he be able to pry Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays, go after Rick Hahn of the White Sox, or even bring back Gerry Hunsicker? Will he upset the fans of Houston and immediately start the rebuilding process by trading Brett Meyers, Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn?

This might be one for Scooby Doo and his gang of pals to figure out.

Fred: "Alright gang.  Let's see who's behind this old man's mask in the mystery of Who's Stealing Money from the Houston Astros fans."

-Fred removes mask from the Old Man to reveal an even older man

Shaggy: "Zoinks!"

Scooby: "Ruh Roh"

The Gang: "It's Old Man Drayton McLane."

Drayton McLane: "Who's ready to be a champion? Remember Kids today is Price day Matters days at the park."

Shaggy: "Zoinks! Please someone put that mask back on him."

Wilma: "Now let's see who's hiding behind the Ed Wade mask and see who the next GM of the Houston Astros will be."

Assuming he succeeds in buying the Astros from Drayton McLane, Jim Crane is expected to hire former Rockets president George Postolos to run his baseball operation. Crane reportedly is infatuated with the idea of prying GM Andrew Friedman away from the Rays. ...

I hate to say it, but you're going to see this quote come up quite a bit in the future once the sale of the Houston Astros becomes finalized. Major League Baseball sources told FOX 26 Sports former Houston Rockets president and chief executive officer George Postolos will be named CEO of the Houston Astros when Jim Crane officially takes over as owner of the franchise.

Talk about calling his shot. Jim Crane appears as if he will do what he says and he will waste no time in reshaping the Houston Astros. The ownership has not even been completely transferred and he's already hiring people for the front office. If I was Tal Smith and Ed Wade, I would start to update my resume immediately.  

So does this mean Andrew Friedman will be the next GM of the Houston Astros?  Yeah it very well could mean that Crane is going to probably make a run at Andrew Friedman, but I wouldn't rule out other candidates. Candidates such as the White Sox's Rick Hahn,  Josh Byrnes who is the Vice President of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres, Assistant GM Logan White, or Senior Vice-President for Baseball Operations  Kim Ng among other will more than likely get heavy consideration.

I hate to be a "Debbie Downer" but Ed Wade is probably going to finish out the year as the GM of the Houston Astros. Jim Crane will more than likely hold off on making a decision on Ed Wade so that he may evaluate the complete front office for the Astros rather than make rash decisions and just fire anyone and everyone.

Where's the fun in that? As Dick Vitale would say, "that's just not my style baby!" We already know that the first domino to fall for Jim Crane will be hiring George Postolos as the new CEO of the Houston Astros. It would only seem logical that the next domino to fall would be who Jim Crane appoints as the GM.

WARNING: The following content is purely fiction and meant for discussion. So, this means you "Over-sensitive-blogger-that-wants-to-argue-every-topic-of-discussion." Why don't you just pump the brakes, have a Yoo-hoo, make a cup of Noodles, and go back to your World of War craft quest.  

The Ed Wade Factor

It's not uncommon for General Managers to engage in trade discussions or even trades once they have taken a new position with a new organization.

I give to you "The Ed Wade Factor."

When a GM is fired from one organization and hired by a new organization, the new GM tends to have a tough time letting go of the major league players and prospects that he was forced to leave behind.  Nobody exemplifies this more than the current GM of the Houston Astros Ed Wade.  Ed Wade has traded for ex Phillies such as Michael Bourn, JA Happ, Sergio Escalona, and signed free agents such as Brett Meyers and Jason Michaels.

Let's just say that Jim Crane fires Ed Wade and hires Andrew Friedman, Josh Byrnes, Rick Hann, Logan White, or Kim Ng to be the next GM. Could these mean that Andrew Friedman could start to pry away players from the Tampa Bay Rays organization? As Kevin Garnett would say "Anything is Possible!" Does this mean that Friedman would be able pry away Evan Longoria? Probably not. Whew! Well I'm glad that we got that one out of the way. As bad as things are for the Tampa Bay Rays and their quest for a new stadium, I highly doubt that they're going to trade one of the best young players in the game who is under control until 2017 for pennies on the dollar in the baseball world.

Evan Longoria's Contract

2011: $2.0 million.
2012: $4.5 million.
2013: $6.0 million.
2014: $7.5 million club option w/ $3.0 million buyout.
2015: $11.0 million club option.
2016: $11.5 million club option

2017: Free Agent

He's not going anywhere and if he is then the package is going to have to be a Mark Teixeira/Cliff Lee type haul in order to make the Rays even think about trading him. The Astros cannot afford to put together a package of Delino Deshields Jr., Jordan Lyles, J.D Martinez, and Jonathan Villar that it would take to get the Rays attention for Longoria. If you're the Houston Astros, can you really afford to give up four young players for superstar players even if it is Evan Longoria?

Last year when Jed Hoyer became the GM of the San Diego Padres he had to make tough decision and trade the face of the franchise in Adrian Gonzalez. One of the first teams to come calling, were the Boston Red Sox and Theo Epstein. Jed Hoyer was probably more inclined to strike a deal with his old club because of the familiarity of players within the Red Sox system and his knowledge of how Theo Epstein and the Red Sox operate. Rick Hahn of the White Sox would be an interesting piece here and his relationship with Kenny Williams. Nobody and I mean nobody loves striking deals like Kenny Williams. We all remember the Jon Garland deal and Kenny Williams wanting Hunter Pence to be included in the deal. If the Astros decide to trade Hunter Pence or Michael Bourn due to financial reasons the White Sox and Kenny Williams would certainly be one of the first ones to call and be the most aggressive.

The Terry Francona Factor

Would the new ownership really fire Brad Mills? Again, anything is possible but I doubt that Brad Mills would be o the chopping block for 2011. He could find himself on the hot seat in 2012 aka "The Terry Francona Factor."

Much like Ed Wade inherited Terry Francona the next GM could inherit Brad Mills. Jim Crane could simply decide that the Astros have not shown enough progress under Brad Mills and decide to go in a new direction with a manager allowing the new GM to go out and find a suitable replacement. Is this the right move? Not in the least, but like any other business when there is a change of ownership people tend to bring in new people to give their business or organization a fresh new start. Would Andrew Friedman bring over his own guy? Maybe hire someone new or try to pry away Joe Madden who has a contract with the Rays through the 2012 season? What about Rick Hahn? Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen have been at each other's throats for years. If the White Sox continue to struggle Ozzie could find himself on the unemployment line, but I wouldn't be shocked if Rick Hahn looked to a familiar "not so friendly" face to be the new skipper of his organization.

What if you're the Houston Astros, do you really replace Brad Mills because the roster that was handed to him simply did not perform? I'm pretty sure this is why the coach of the Washington Generals, the team that plays the Harlem Globetrotters is still employed year after year. Nobody is going to fire someone who loses a race that was given a Ford Pinto entering a Ferrari race. The guy that tends to get fired is the guy who enters the Ford Pinto race with a Ferrari and loses. It's simple. You're expectations are generally lower if everyone expects for you to fail.

Look. I'll be the first one to admit that we're probably jumping the gun a little about who Jim Crane may or may not hire once sale is complete. I mean the deal isn't even finalized and we're already acting like that bratty kid whose parents gave them a $5 dollar bill in the candy store.

"I want this and I want that!"

"Fire Ed Wade and Tal Smith"

"I'm not sure what Pam Gardner does, but we should probably fire her too."

Sound familiar?  

"I have a couple of messages for the Astros fans," Crane said. "First and foremost, the Astros fans come first. You are the customer. Our team will work hard to deliver a superior product and a great experience for the fans. I believe in running a first-class franchise, and everything we do will be built around building a championship team."

-Jim Crane

I think as fans, we tend to want immediate change when someone new comes into this organization. This is not going to be a quick turnaround. It's going to be a slow process to turn this organization around and get this franchise moving in the right direction again. Ed Wade has done s fine job in rebuilding the farm, but at the end of the day he simply might not be able to finish the job that he started and could simply be a victim or circumstance. Jim Crane and his eventual staff will have a challenge on their hands of bringing the fans back to Minute Maid. This is a great baseball town and fans love this team. They want to believe in this organization again. Someone just needs to give them something to believe in and most importantly Houston needs someone to be honest with them. One of the worst things that Drayton McLane and his staff did was alienate the fans. From Ed Wade saying that "We don't make moves for the fans" or Drayton's constant "Are you Ready to be a Champion" line the fans simply just got annoyed and confidence simply eroded towards the front office. If you want to have a winning domino effect for this organization then simply do what you say. Hold people accountable, commit to the draft, spend money wisely, and remember that the fans come first. 

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