Rockies executive Bill Geivett will interview in the next few days for the Astros' vacant general manager position, and one baseball executive said it's believed he has a "real legitimate shot" at getting the job.
Others familiar with the Astros search weren't so sure, cautioning that the team is still early in the process and is in the process of seeking permission to talk to many candidates.
Rays general manager Andrew Friedman is the Astros' preferred candidate, but one source familiar with the search said it remains "doubtful" that Friedman would make the move. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine was also considered a strong candidate, but he pulled out of the running on Wednesday.
Just as happened with the Orioles GM job last month, some people in baseball are questioning how desirable the Astros position is, particularly given the awkward timing of the process.
Because Jim Crane wasn't approved as the team's new owner until mid-November, the Astros didn't fire Ed Wade until this week, and now they're in the strange position of searching for a GM in the days leading up to next week's winter meetings (with a certainty that the search will stretch past the meetings). That makes it tough for candidates to leave prior jobs, and will make it next to impossible for whoever gets the Astros job to assemble a staff of assistants.
Geivett is interested in the job, has the Rockies' blessing -- even though it would be tough for them to lose him -- and is by all accounts a qualified candidate. The one question, one person familiar with the search said, was whether Geivett is aggressive enough for Crane's liking.
The 48-year-old Geivett is a former minor-league player who has been with the Rockies for 11 years, running the minor-league and scouting operations and most recently serving as assistant GM. His success in running both scouting and player development should be a benefit with the Astros, who will need to acquire and develop plenty of new talent.
"He's done everything," said one veteran scout who knows Geivett well. "He's ready."
And, at least for now, he's interested.
Other potential candidates may not be, and there were even rumblings Thursday that the Astros' treatment of ex-club president Tal Smith (fired by phone Sunday) had helped turn some people off.
Levine won't say why he didn't want the job, and didn't even mention the Astros by name in his statement Wednesday. He focused instead on how much he wanted to stay with the Rangers, where he is part of a management team that has had great success and also gets along extremely well.
Levine will remain in his current job with the Rangers, after some talk earlier that he would shift to overseeing the farm system. The Rangers have had an opening since Scott Servais left to work for new GM Jerry Dipoto with the Angels. Now, it's possible that job could go to ex-Astros GM Tim Purpura.