By Matt Snyder
With Ed Wade reportedly set to be given his walking papers Monday by new Astros owner Jim Crane, the ballclub will be searching for a new general manager very soon. With Houston favorite Andrew Friedman likely out of the running, Thad Levine is an early candidate to watch, sources have told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.
Levine, 40, is the assistant general manager for the Texas Rangers, a position he's held since 2005 -- when Jon Daniels was hired as the youngest GM in baseball history. The Rangers' brain trust has put together back-to-back American League championship clubs, and this was an organization that had previously never won a playoff series, so Levine is obviously well-groomed to take over a ballclub of his own.
Also, per Knobler, don't rule out Gerry Hunsicker. He currently works with Friedman as an executive for Tampa Bay, but still has a home in Houston. Hunsicker was the Astros' GM from 1995-2004, presiding over/setting up a period of time that easily qualifies as the best in franchise history -- when the Astros went to the playoffs six times in a nine season span and also made their only World Series appearance.
There's no way of knowing how quickly Houston would want to hire a new GM, considering the firing of Wade hasn't actually happened yet, but the Winter Meetings start in a week, so it would behoove them to make a very quick hire, if possible.
Finally, on the managerial situation, Brad Mills will not be fired, reports Richard Justice.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.