So it happened. Late last (Sunday) night, before the heart-to-heart meetings were scheduled to take place, Jim Crane and CEO George Postolos dismissed Ed Wade and Tal Smith.
In a statement released by the team last night, Postolos wrote:
“With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations. We have told Ed and Tal 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.”
Wade was under contract through 2012, so he'll get a year's worth of paid vacation. Tal Smith will head off to a farm in Connecticut so he can run freely through a field.
Who are they looking for?
“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.”
Tal Smith isn't happy about it. He told Mark Berman:
"I wrote Jim Crane on June 8th, a four or five page letter asking for a meeting. He responded by e-mail that very day and he said 'I am currently on the road traveling until next week. I'll give you a call next week to set up a time for us to get together. Thanks for your letter.' I have yet to hear from him. After 54 years in the game and 35 years of service to the Astros, I'm disappointed that I never got the chance to really sit down and talk to Jim."
Now, I can certainly understand that. But Crane had some pretty big issues to deal with. Like dealing with constant allegations of racism, war profiteering, and Bud Selig. Could Crane meet with Tal Smith and plan the future when it was up in the air if he would actually own the team?
We'll be addressing that, and a number of other topics related to this news, as the day moves on.