With their new owner coming in the door shortly, the Houston Astros have started to make some serious changes. They fired Tal Smith (President of Baseball Operations) and Ed Wade (General Manager) on Monday, and now they are beginning the search for replacements. And apparently, that search begins with Rays general manager Andrew Friedman:
#astros plan all along was to try to lure andrew friedman. #longshot. and when he says no, then conduct their search (Jon Heyman, ESPN)
It's highly unlikely that Friedman ends up going to the Astros, even though they have been given permission to talk with him and Friedman is a Houston native. Friedman has already been offered other GM positions this offseason -- the Angels job was the most intriguing -- but he's chosen to remain in Tampa Bay due to his close relationship with owner Stuart Sternberg and president Matthew Silverman.
Friedman is in a good situation in Tampa Bay. He is given free reign to work as he pleases, and he's built a front office full of some of the brightest minds in baseball. He works under little pressure, but he also faces a constantly challenging task in building a competitive team on a budget to face off against the Yankees and Red Sox. It's a great place for him, so it's not surprising that he's reticent to leave.
The Astros will begin conducting their GM search shortly, but their new management should get some credit for checking in on Friedman. It certainly never hurts to ask.