JJO's blog post has a few clarifications on this manager search:
Drayton McLane said multiple candidates for the Astros' managerial job were brought in for a second interview on Wednesday. He admitted Manny Acta was one, but McLane said Bob Melvin wasn't brought in...
..."We brought in some others. I don't want to go into details. Some of them I had not met, and we had several discussions. They were kind of brief on me."
I'm of the opinion that unless you interview with Drayton, you're not really going through a managerial interview with the Astros. So those who have made the second round are at least in the door.
Keep in mind, however, that unlike the other candidates, Garner, Clark and Pedrique don't need an introductory second interview with McLane to enter the finals.
On this subject, we got a question in the ol' inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org):
You aren't posting any opinions about who should be the new manager. Why not?
That's one astute observation. But it's true. The reasons I'm not terribly concerned about who the new manager is are these:
-It's kind of a crapshoot. There wasn't anything to indicate that Joe Torre (whose managerial stock is falling slightly since leaving NY) or Tony LaRussa would be a great manager. There also wasn't anything to really suggest Fredi Gonzalez or Don Wakamatsu or Ron Washington would be good managers. And the thing about it is, a manager can be considered Great one year, and lousy the next (see: Garner, Phil). One year ago we all thought Cecil Cooper had done a pretty great job, and look where he was by May. So it's not like measuring a K:BB ratio, or SB%. There aren't any predictors to how well a manager may do.
-If Lance and Roy decide they're going to throw a fit (see: 2009) and pout, and wear t-shirts (which wasn't even funny. I could get on board if they made shirts that were actually funny) wondering if the manager really just did...whatever, then the manager doesn't have a chance. One advantage that the new manager will have is the backing of Ed Wade. Easy Eddie didn't hire Cecil Cooper. And that fact was made obvious. So if/when one of the Veterans decides to act like a 2nd grader at some point next season, it will be interesting to see what effect it has from a personnel standpoint.
So in conclusion, the reason I'm not so hopped up on the managerial search? It's not like a GM search, where you can evaluate trades and drafts. Once the next manager is announced, there will be plenty to go over, but it's hard to just look at some stats and make a PECOTA-style prediction.