The Astros announced during a 3 PM CDT conference from Minute Maid Park that they have hired former Phillies GM Ed Wade as the new GM. Wade, along with Ruben Amaro, Jr. and 9 other candidates interviewed for the job after Tim Purpura was fired.
Wade had most recently worked as a scout for the San Diego Padres, handling the Eastern US and International scouting. Prior to that, Wade had spent 16 years with the Phillies. He served as Asst GM from 1990 to 1998 when he was hired as the GM. The Phillies fired Wade after they failed to reach the playoffs for the 8th straight year in 2005 and attendance had dipped by more than 600,000.
Wade started his baseball career with the Phillies as a media relations intern. He then served as the media relations director with the Astros and Pirates and worked for Astros President for Baseball Operations Tal Smith in his consulting firm before returning to the Phillies as the Assistant General Manager.
Astros fans are not very thrilled at this hire as they have heard the reports from Philadelphia about Wade. The Houston media is taking more of a wait and see attitude as they point out the good and bad of Wade’s tenure as the Phillies GM.
Wade was the man who gave huge contracts that became an albatross to Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell. He also traded away Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen and couldn’t keep Billy Wagner.
Wade was also responsible as GM for drafting and signing players like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers, Cole Hammels and picking up Shane Victorino as a Rule V draftee and is generally credited for reorganizing and building up the Phillies farm system.
Tal Smith is going to be taking a more active role in the day to day baseball operations from now on, possibly as a conciliatory sign to the fans. It does mean that Drayton McLane who trusts Tal Smith implicitly will be less involved in the day to day running of the club and hopefully will be less involved with the free agent and draft signings, letting guys with more baseball knowledge do their jobs.
I am sure Ed Wade is well aware that he needs to perform well in this off season as the Astros struggle to get out of last place in the NL Central. The Houston media and fans are all watching him and many are waiting for him to fall flat on his face just like Tim Purpura did. Hopefully with Smith guiding him, Wade will make good, sound baseball deals and Tal will be able to convince Drayton McLane to open up his wallet if he really believes his mantra of "What have you done to be a Champion today?"