Ex-Phillies GM Wade is Houston's new GM pick

Updated: September 21, 2007, 5:09 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ed Wade is the new general manager in Houston.

Ed Wade

Wade

The Astros made the announcement official at a news conference Thursday afternoon. Wade emerged from an exhaustive search that lasted nearly a month and included 11 official interviews. Wade was interviewed a second time hours before he was given the job.

According to one baseball man who had been in touch with members of the Astros' organization, Wade was asked Wednesday to fly back to Houston for a second session because Astros owner Drayton McLane needed to determine whether he could develop "a comfort level" with Wade.

"The Phillies team was put together not through big trades but through player development," McLane said. "We had some wonderful candidates, but Ed just stood out."

Team president Tal Smith, on the other hand, has worked with Wade as far back as the late 1970s, when Wade served as the Astros' public relations director and Smith was the general manager. The two also worked together in the mid-'80s after Smith formed Tal Smith Enterprises, a consulting company that represented numerous teams in contract negotiations and arbitration hearings.

"You've got to look at the body of work and this was done under Ed Wade's administration with the Phillies," Smith said. "All the candidates bring something to the table but the 31 years of experience and the track record with [what] the Phillies have accomplished and where they are today is certainly a determining factor."

McLane was widely said to have favored Wade's one-time assistant GM in Philadelphia, Ruben Amaro Jr., and indications were that Amaro was the lone other candidate still under consideration. But Wade's experience -- having served as a general manager for eight seasons with the Phillies -- apparently pushed him to the top of the list of 11 candidates interviewed over the last two weeks.

Wade, 51, served as GM in Philadelphia from 1998 through the 2005 season, a period during which he fired manager Terry Francona after the 2000 season, hired Larry Bowa and rebuilt the team around young stars such as Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins.

Francona won a World Series with Boston in 2004, the same year Wade fired Bowa and replaced him with Charlie Manuel, another move that was criticized.

"Happy for him. I think he deserves to get another crack at being a GM,'' Manuel said Thursday night before the Phillies played in Washington. "He showed a lot of trust in me and a lot of faith in me.''

Wade had spent eight years as assistant GM. After being elevated to the GM job, he prioritized the rebuilding of the Phillies' depleted farm system. Virtually the entire nucleus of the Phillies' current team was signed and developed during his tenure.

"It was a great eight-year run for me individually and for the organization, I believe," Wade said. "We were able to do some things to re-establish the farm system, add stability and continuity and to build a team that was successful but just not quite successful enough."

Wade was fired following the 2005 season after the Phillies failed to reach the playoffs in all eight seasons of his administration. He has spent the last two seasons working as a scout and special assistant to Padres GM Kevin Towers.

Houston fired GM Tim Purpura and manager Phil Garner on Aug. 27. Bench coach Cecil Cooper became interim manager, and Smith served as interim GM.

The Astros, who played in their first World Series two years ago, entered Thursday tied for last in the NL Central at 66-86. a half-game ahead of Florida for worst record in the NL.

Others who interviewed included Amaro Jr., former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans and former Astros general manager Bob Watson.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com