Former Astros general manager Ed Wade made it a primary objective during his four-year tenure with the team to set the foundation for restoring a depleted farm system by focusing on player development.
At the same time, he had the responsibility of keeping the big league club competitive in the short-run while building toward the future.
It was no easy task.
Although Wade had the team headed in the right direction, it came as little surprise Sunday night when Astros owner Jim Crane and president and CEO George Postolos made the announcement that the club will begin the search for a new general manager.
Crane stated during his Nov. 17 news conference at Minute Maid Park that baseball operations would be a “core focus” for the club, with the possibility of changes taking place after Thanksgiving.
Speculation and rumors regarding his job status surrounded Wade for nearly six months, but he still executed the position with professionalism.
Imagine being in that situation?
Wade was on hand during the news conference last May in which former owner Drayton McLane Jr. announced he had reached a purchase agreement with Crane’s group to sell the ballclub.
He informed lodeplus.com following the announcement that it was his intention to introduce himself to Crane for the first time.
What an uncomfortable situation.
Traditionally, a new boss will go around to existing staff to introduce themself, or if a person gets hired for a job, their supervisor makes the first effort to say “hello” and discuss expectations.
The fact that Wade had to approach Crane and say, “Mr. Crane, I’m Ed Wade. It’s nice to meet you,” wasn’t a good sign.
Wade took the high road.
He continued his job duties as general manager and found himself in a tough situation of having to trade Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger heading into the July non-waiver deadline.
The Astros dealt icons Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt the previous season.
Wade understands how a rebuilding process works in Major League Baseball, but unfortunately in professional sports, patience is not a virtue, especially among ownership and a loyal fan base.
There’s a strong possibility that Wade is the right man for the job, yet a new ownership typically hires their own people for positions.
Wade wasn’t a Jim Crane guy.
When asked about Tal Smith (who was also fired Sunday) and Wade’s future status with the ballclub, Crane worked around the question.
Instead, he talked about Postolos handling the day-to-day duties.
Furthermore, Crane announced that Pam Gardner would remain with the organization as the president of business operations.
By giving Gardner a vote of confidence and not discussing Smith or Wade, it became clearer that a change would likely happen.
According to MLB.com, the Astros will pay Wade through 2013.
Despite being disappointed in the final outcome, Wade still has a very bright future as an executive in Major League Baseball.
He’ll likely be hired by another organization this offseason in some form of capacity and could be in the running for future GM jobs.
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