HOUSTON -- The Astros have begun to interview candidates to become their full-time manager, owner Jim Crane said prior to Monday's game against the Cubs at Minute Maid Park. He said the club plans to talk to six to eight candidates this week before narrowing its search to two to three at a later date.
Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow didn't discuss names or give a timetable on when the search will draw to a close. Crane said he, Luhnow, team president George Postolos and Astros legend Craig Biggio are among those involved in the interview process.
"We have a pretty extensive week and have a bunch of people coming in this week," Crane said. "We're working hard at it right now."
The Astros are searching for a full-time replacement for Brad Mills, who was let go Aug. 18 after nearly three years on the job. Tony DeFrancesco, who was the Triple-A Oklahoma City skipper, has served as the interim manager since and is a candidate for the full-time job.
"We are starting the process of contacting and talking directly to several candidates that are possibilities for the managerial opening," Luhnow said. "We're not going to discuss names, we're not going to talk about schedules, but what we're looking for is somebody that buys into where we're going, that really gets the vision of what we're trying to do, that's capable of creating a chemistry and culture in the clubhouse that's productive and has the players learning how to play the game in a winning way."
The team has received permission to talk to candidates who are currently employed by other teams, Crane said. He said the Astros aren't likely to go beyond the six to eight names currently on their list.
"I think we'll find what we need with this group," he said. "We did a lot of work to get it down to that number."
Luhnow said the Astros want a manager who's capable of taking the analytical information from the front office and then utilizing it to make better decisions on the field, as well as one who's adept at working with young players. The GM said the club won't walk past a qualified candidate for a lack of Major League managerial experience.
"I think we're going to find a lot of candidates we like and meet the criteria we're looking for, and it's a matter of figuring out which one is the best of those," Luhnow said. "We're starting that process now. ... We don't know when the process is going to end. Part of it is when we talk to all the candidates and which ones we prioritize and what they're currently doing."