The Astros have been operating without a general manager for several months but owner Jim Crane is actively interviewing candidates for the position, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s unclear if a resolution is close at hand or how many people are being considered, but Rosenthal lists three people who have been interviewed: Michael Hill, Dana Brown and Bobby Evans.
The Astros’ offseason got off to a surprising start when the club parted ways with general manager James Click and assistant general manager Scott Powers in November. There were some reported differences between Click and Crane, but it was expected by many that the Astros winning the World Series would be enough to get all parties on the same page going forward.
That didn’t come to pass and the club has been operating without a general manager for the past few months. It seems as though Crane has taken on a prominent role in the baseball operations while conducting a search for Click’s replacement. Crane commented on the matter back in November, saying that he planned to take his time and didn’t expect to make a hire prior to the new year. That has indeed come to pass as it is now mid-January with the position still vacant.
The club has been going about its business regardless, signing free agents like José Abreu and Michael Brantley in addition to agreeing to terms with various arbitration-eligible players. It’s not known if the club has any specific date in mind for a front office decision, but it seems the wheels are at least in motion with these interviews having been conducted.
Hill spent many years in the front office of the Marlins, joining the club in 2002. He would go on to hold various titles in his time with that franchise, including assistant general manager, general manager and president of baseball operations. When his contract ran out after the 2020 season, the club didn’t extend him despite the fact that they qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2003. Since that time, Hill has been connected to various clubs looking to add to their front office, including the Angels, Mets and Phillies. However, he has yet to sign on with another team since leaving the Marlins, spending the past two years working for Major League Baseball as senior vice president of on-field operations.
Brown was drafted by the Phillies in 1989 and spent a few years playing in their minor league system. He has since had various jobs throughout the league, serving as scouting director of the Nationals and a special assistant with the Blue Jays. He was a candidate to join the Mariners’ front office in late 2015 but didn’t land the job. For the past four years, he has been with the Braves, where he currently serves as the vice president of scouting. Much of his career has overlapped with Atlanta’s president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos, as they worked together with the Expos before that team became the Nats, were with the Jays at the same time and are now working alongside each other in Atlanta.
Evans was hired by the Giants in 1994 and worked his way up through various titles over the years. He was eventually named the club’s general manager going into 2015, just after the club had won its third title in five years. However, he was “reassigned” from that role in late 2018 after less than four years on the job. He interviewed for the general manager job with the Astros in 2020 before Click was hired. He also interviewed for the Angels later that year, though that job ultimately went to Perry Minasian.
The three candidates each bring different levels of experience and success to the table. The Marlins didn’t find much success while Hill was with the club, but he worked for owner Jeffrey Loria who was known for meddling in baseball decisions and keeping the payroll modest. Brown’s teams have all found much success while he’s worked for them and he’s credited with drafting or signing many great talents, but he doesn’t have any previous work as a club’s top baseball decision maker. Evans was with the Giants during their most successful period in recent years, though his time in the top chair was brief and the club was less successful at that time. It’s unknown if the Astros have any preference among these three, though there are likely other candidates under consideration as well, with more details to come.