George Postolos, the president/CEO of the Houston Astros, has stepped down, the club announced Monday. It's a somewhat surprising move since Postolos worked closely for seven years with owner Jim Crane to acquire the team, then came on as president in 2011.
We're fairly certain it's not because of this hilarious Astros GIF, but you never know.
In his role overseeing the organizational side of the team, Postolos rebranded the Astros, revamped the marketing department and was a big player in the creation of CSN Houston — which has had issues since launching.
Postolos, a former president/CEO of the Houston Rockets, will now return to his consulting practice, The Postolos Group, where he advises investors about acquisitions and strategy in pro sports. Here's what he said in a press release distributed by the Astros:
"I am very proud of what Jim accomplished with my help - acquiring a major league franchise with a strong and diverse ownership group, developing and implementing a good plan for the team's future, and assembling a first rate management team," Postolos said. "I look forward to helping other investors pursue their objectives in sports knowing that Jim and the Astros organization are off to a great start and well positioned for future success.
Crane had this to say:
“We appreciate George’s hard work in the acquisition of the Astros and his commitment to the organization,” Crane said. “I’d also like to personally thank him for the assistance that he has provided to me over the last several years and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
This isn't the Astros — who have the worst record (10-28) and smallest payroll in baseball — trying to make a change to right their ship. That ship isn't getting right this year, though many baseball minds agree that general manager Jeff Luhnow has the farm system headed in the right direction.
There's no word yet on who will replace Postolos as president/CEO. But there are at least a few people out there wondering if the Astros call on their ex-star pitcher Nolan Ryan, who is the CEO and a co-owner of the Texas Rangers. Ryan's job wasn't especially stable this spring, but he did recently commit himself to the position.
That, however, won't stop people from talking about the possibility, like they did back when Ryan seemed to be on-the-outs with the Rangers.
There's nothing — on the record, at least — indicating Ryan is itching to join the Astros. This is more like when a college football job comes open and various coaches with ties to the program get tossed out as candidates.
Jean-Jacques Taylor at ESPN Dallas sizes up the pros and cons:
There’s just one question Ryan must ask himself. Does he want a chance to win a World Series or would he prefer to try to resurrect the second-worst franchise in baseball? (Just so you know, Miami is by far baseball’s worst franchise.)
Ryan can have all the power and authority he wants in Houston, and owner Jim Crane would probably let him re-hire many of the people the organization has hired. But it’s going to take several years for that team to resemble anything close to a winner.
Those in the know in Houston are saying Postolos' departure is a result of friction within the organization and a backlash toward his practices:
Postolos regime treated baseball as though it were basketball, got rid of a lot of institutional knowledge and it has bit them badly.
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) May 13, 2013
Astros business ops was quite successful for many years with brilliant folks under McLane. Yet, Postolos wiped out many good folks. — Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) May 13, 2013
Feeling was Postolos would be "fall guy" later in 2013 season or after year was done. Today's move simply pushes ahead what was waiting. — Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) May 13, 2013
So maybe Postolos wanted to leave on his own terms before he was forced to leave? Either way, it'll be interesting to see if the Astros do in fact make a run at Nolan Ryan. Could you imagine if one of baseball's most respected ex-pitchers jumps from a first-place team to the last-place team in the same division?