The Astros clean house: Ed Wade, Tal Smith fired

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Shakeup time:  the Astros have announced that president of baseball operations Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade have been fired. the moves come a week after Jim Crane took control of the team.  It was not terribly surprising.

The team said assistant general manager David Gottfried will serve as interim general manager but is not a candidate for the permanent position.  There are a lot of potential candidates including two obvious ones in former Astros GM and current Rays senior VP Gerry Hunsicker and current Rays GM Andrew Friedman. Ken Rosenthal names the Rangers’ Thad Levine or A.J. Preller and the Marlins’ Dan Jennings as potential candidates.

It’s been a nutso offseason as far as general manager musical chairs go, as the Orioles, Red Sox, Twins, Angels, Cubs and Padres have gotten new bosses. Now the Astros.  The winter meetings look to have more in the way of orientations and introductions than it will have trades and stuff.

As for the Astros, the next big thing after getting a new GM is to decide if manager Brad Mills stays on board.  A new guy may want his own man at the helm. That said, Mills has had basically zero chance to do anything with the talent — or lack thereof — he has been provided by the Astros.  One would hope that he gets a chance to stick.  If not, someone should call the Red Sox and ask them if they’d like their old bench coach back as their next manager.

Mark Lowe wants to attempt a comeback

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Reliever Mark Lowe wants to make a comeback, Jerry Crasnick reports. The 35-year-old veteran is working out in Portland, Oregon and would take an opportunity to pitch overseas as well as a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Lowe signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers back in January, but was cut in the middle of March and didn’t end up signing with another team. He last pitched in the majors in 2016 with the Tigers. Across parts of 11 seasons, Lowe has a career 4.22 ERA with 352 strikeouts and 163 walks in 385 2/3 innings. Lowe spent 2017 at Triple-A for the Mariners and White Sox, compiling a devilish 6.66 ERA in aggregate across 48 2/3 innings.