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The Astros began a major shake-up of their front office by announcing late Sunday president of baseball operations Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade were being dismissed.
The moves come less than a week after a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane assumed control of the club from long-time owner Drayton McLane and only a week before baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, scheduled to begin next Monday in Dallas.
Crane’s $610 million bid to buy the Astros was approved by Major League Baseball owners Nov. 17, and he told reporters shortly after being approved that significant changes were on the way.
Smith, who just completed his 54th season in baseball and 17th consecutive with the Astros, was a close confidant of McLane and has been a mainstay in the Houston baseball scene for decades. Wade had been on the job with the Astros for four-plus seasons.
In a statement released by the club, team president and CEO George Postolos said assistant general manager David Gottfried will serve as interim general manager, but is not a candidate for the permanent position.
“With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations,” Postolos said. “We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.
“The search for a new general manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal.”