Say this about new Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and his handpicked CEO George Postolos: They're not afraid to work unconventional hours to get the job done.
The Astros' new leadership surprised the baseball establishment by announcing the hiring of a new general manager at 10 minutes to midnight Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. This coming 10 days after they fired Ed Wade late on an NFL Sunday night.
When you're trying to rebuild a 56-106 team from the ground up, any hour is go time.
In their latest late night move, the Astros bring in St. Louis Cardinals V.P. of scouting and player development Jeff Luhnow as the new GM. Crane and Postolos had tried to go sexy with his hire, going after Tampa Bay Rays miracle-working general manager Andrew Friedman, a Houston native, only to get turned down without an interview and at least flirting with Texas Rangers executives Thad Levine and A.J. Preller.
"(Luhnow) was born and raised in Mexico," Postolos said, "and his bicultural background will be an asset in recruiting players from Latin America and developing the Hispanic market for Los Astros."
But in the end, after swinging for the fences with Friedman, Crane and Postolos dug in and made a substance-heavy practical hire that fits their player development first and foremost mantra.
The 45-year-old Luhnow has overseen the surprise World Champion Cardinals' amateur drafts since 2005 and their player development system in Latin America, a region where the Astros need to improve.
"The Astros strive to develop one of the best systems in baseball and create a consistent winner at the Major League level," Postolos said in a statement. "Jeff has the knowledge, skills and experience to lead the baseball operations efforts at all levels and help the Astros achieve this vision. Jeff has a demonstrated the ability to inspire and motivate staff in the front office and out in the field.
"He was born and raised in Mexico and his bicultural background will be an asset in recruiting players from Latin America and developing the Hispanic market for Los Astros."
Luhnow will be introduced in Houston at a press conference early Thursday afternoon. It's the new Astro way. No time like now.