Blogging is a big light today as I make some blog site upgrades, but I wanted to pass along a couple of interesting items on former Stros general managers.
In this remarkably frank article, Chronicle Stros beat reporter Jose de Jesus Ortiz uses the occasion of former Stros general manager Gerry Hunsicker losing out on the Phillies’ GM job to take a serious whack at Mr. Hunsicker’s credibility. Entitled “Hunsicker Must Prove That He’s Trustworthy,” the article relates how Stros owner Drayton McLane and current Stros GM Tim Purpura became disenchanted with Mr. Hunsicker’s alleged manipulation of media accounts of various Stros transactions, including the following:
The first time I knew Hunsicker’s days were numbered with the Astros was when he flirted with the New York Mets for their vacant general manager’s job after the 2003 season. A report in the Newark Star-Ledger stated that Hunsicker wanted out of Houston because he had been overruled when he wanted to hire Tony PeÒa instead of Jimy Williams as manager after the 2001 season.
The morning that report ran, I was awoken by Astros brass furious because they believed Hunsicker was trying to take credit for discovering PeÒa.
For the record, Purpura, not Hunsicker, was the one pushing for PeÒa.
Asked about the report, Hunsicker declined to comment. I told him I was running something about it with or without his comments because folks in his front office were offended by the inference. Whether it was true or not, Astros officials distrusted Hunsicker and believed he was the biggest leak in the franchise.
Read the entire article, which is really quite biting in relation to the usual local reporting on the Stros. Meanwhile, Mr. Hunsicker’s booby prize for losing out on the Phillies GM job is reportedly the Tampa Bay Devil Rays GM position, which is probably the most challenging job in Major League Baseball.
Meanwhile, take a moment to read this fascinating (and very long) Business of Baseball interview with former Stros GM and current director of baseball operations Tal Smith, who is the one common thread through the fabric of Houston’s 43 years in Major League Baseball. The interview is filled with anecdotes about the Stros franchise, including the following tidbit regarding last season’s failed negotiations for Carlos Beltran:
The Beltran negotiations, they really didnít get to any meaningful dialogue until the final hour before the deadline that we faced. Itís just tough to do a deal of that magnitude in the final hour. Drayton asked on many occasions if we could go visit with Carlos in Puerto Ricoóif we could talk to him. We were denied that opportunity and told that, if we did, that would foreclose any negotiation with Carlos and perhaps some others down the road. Again, when you have a situation like that, the agent and the player set ground rules of what we could do.
Some people have suggested, ìWell, you should have issued an ultimatum.î Thatís all well and good. That doesnít appear to me to be the right thing to do to your fans Ö to just foreclose any possibility. I donít think Scott Boras would have reacted to any ultimatum that we might have established as far as ìThis offer is good until December 1, or December 10Ö.î I donít think that would have worked. All we would have done at that point is, with absolute certainty, denied the Astros any opportunity. As it was, Iím not sure how great an opportunity we had. It didnít work out for us. But I donít think thereís anything, in retrospect, we could have really done other than perhaps close the doors earlier, write it off and go in another direction. We wanted to get Carlos, if at all possible, but thatís the course we chose.
My sense is that Scot Boras need not bother peddling any of his other clients with the Stros anytime soon.