topamax discount get cheap speman work buy aricept france order flomax side cheap ortho tri cyclen reviews cheap prandin a prescription order nitroglycerin ointment order singulair fractional cheap brand cialis delivery buy crestor rosuvastatin cheap v gel intimate lubricant buy celebrex canadian pharmacy hair loss discount emedicine buy tamoxifen online buy zyvox malaysia pain relief discount back buy speman medicine buy seroquel quickly buy tretinoin 0,05 buy finast cheap brand levitra pills clomid discount card cheap hair loss keratin buy zovirax boots order erectile dysfunction low testosterone trazodone to buy buy ashwagandha leaves weight loss amitriptyline to buy online femara discount coupon cheap zanaflex prescription cheap ortho tri cyclen hair loss order remeron qtc buy levitra plus mg online buy clindamycin australia buy elocon online uk order effexor xr drug interactions buy rosuvastatin africa order v gel side effects buy yasmin usa shuddha guggulu discount for thyroid pain relief discount arthritis cialis soft discount sublingual cheap advair diskus half life zaditor discount online order rogaine 5 kirkland rogaine cheap viagra with prescription zantac discount generic order cialis super active vs professional buy clomid paypal order wellbutrin sr dosage range buy hcg clomid nolvadex buy olanzapine in nz buy glucotrol xl of action cheap viagra jelly canada online cheap cafergot get order vasotec australia cheap cleocin gel during pregnancy buy female cialis paypal buy revatio new york order pain relief with uti buy viagra professional information cheap retino-a cream 0,05 tretinoin order alphagan generic buying zyban thailand cheap generic imitrex men;s health subscription deals buy trazodone in thailand order cymbalta kong cheap cholesterol lowering quickly voltaren copay coupon cheap rental in florida tretinoin 0 05 discount prozent cheap levitra last cialis jelly discount mg generic zoloft by greenstone order zoloft rx order pilex express buy himalaya confido in india order synthroid brand ortho tri cyclen discount depression allopurinol discount get order innopran xl gsk ortho tri cyclen discount quick start method naprosyn discount vouchers ayurslim discount vouchers order remeron can buy viagra super active does it work cheap cialis super active and cialis professional buy cheap ventolin inhalers cheap clomid pills buy prometrium suppositories online order tadalis sx cena cheap cytotec the counter order cialis soft gel caps order finpecia legit buy unisom liquid men;s health discount week buy azulfidine tablets cheap cholesterol lowering exercise and diet order wellbutrin sr experiences order benfotiamine benefits buy revia the counter female cialis discount how does viagra professional discount price order dramamine video order meclizine illegal cheap effexor xr withdrawal where can i buy propecia yahoo order acyclovir online uk buy elocon generic diclofenac gel discount the counter buy floxin tablet order kamagra from india buy clindamycin phosphate gel order actoplus met warnings cheap cytoxan buy aricept eu buy januvia rx abilify savings program buy triamterene singapore buy viagra soft without consultation cheap kamagra gel buy ethionamide canada cheap flagyl er ute av kroppen buy arava vancouver cheap wellbutrin sr manufacturer coupons buy cialis jelly review sleep aid discount effective buy doxycycline for dogs order zetia in canada cheap lanoxin australia cheap vytorin australia buy men;s health pl buy strattera cheap synthroid discount voucher buy zenegra sk cheap viagra super active dosage buy men;s health deltafit order propecia online cheap viagra plus thailand buy zithromax at walgreens cheap viagra soft pills kamagra cheap generic pain relief discount carpal tunnel buy ortho tri cyclen reviews acne sumycin discount code cheap chewable kamagra buy cholesterol lowering exercise cheap lady era rock order revia prescription order hydrochlorothiazide side cheap viagra alternatives uk order terramycin chickens order arjuna mahabarata cheap rental cars buy cytotec malaysia buy inderal real buy prandin dogs buy viagra plus brisbane buy inderal quickly buy viagra levitra and cialis liv 52 discount syrup order skelaxin by mail cialis super active discount cialis cheap viagra super active x 10 pill order avapro online buy propranolol uk order pain relief shingles cheap zestril online order viagra soft tabs buy cystone procardia discount coupon alli buy buy cheap shuddha guggulu nadwaga buy famvir line cheap ortho tri cyclen vs yasmin buy nolvadex liquid buy tricor in thailand cheap azithromycin online buy real singulair cheap ortho tri cyclen as emergency contraception cheap zithromax online buy xenical weight loss pills order lisinopril side buy viagra plus jelly online cheap januvia version hair loss discount laser treatment buy purinethol line cheap apcalis sx fu"r frauen buy seroquel online australia order rogaine 5 biovea zoloft get high order hair loss from stress methotrexate discount voucher periactin discount voucher cheap kamagra gold opis cholesterol lowering discount natural supplements order requip line kamagra gold discount nebenwirkungen buy ginette 35 online cheap root canal new jersey nexium prescription savings card order prandin bula cheap capoten price imitrex discount program order motilium generic buy shallaki ayurveda buy tadalis sx where to buy cabergoline uk ponstel discount card order benfotiamine generic where can i buy zofran in the uk buy rhinocort aqua online cheap prandin work order hydrochlorothiazide buy orlistat canada cheapest lariam tablets cheap lasix rx buy ventolin for nebulizer buy amantadine online buy clomid 100mg online buy ginseng tea online buy viagra soft york city order requip high cleocin gel discount ingredients buy kamagra oral jelly dosage buy cholesterol lowering green smoothie phenergan discount code cheap provigil cheap viagra xanthi order crestor coupon buy ortho tri cyclen depression cheap revatio for sale cholesterol lowering discount naturally order benzaclin buy cefixime you buy abilify japan order femara rx buy elocon uk diclofenac gel discount dosage remeron discount prescription buy viagra professional dosage buy purinethol generic cheap pariet order revia online order hair loss while breastfeeding order benfotiamine malaysia buy cialis canada yahoo answers order hair loss help cheap plendil lek can i buy antivert over the counter order moduretic viagra soft discount under the tongue order vytorin bula buy triamterene for cheap order actoplus met medication guide buy ventolin germany order tinidazole herx cheap lisinopril side cheap viagra jelly review cheap atacand hct buy online mentat himalaya buy nimotop ulotka celebrex cost per month buy nitrofurantoin in europe order brand name cialis online order voveran sr daily dosage order abana insurance order erectile dysfunction supplements buy tenormin australia order anti fungal body soap cheap rosuvastatin generic buy amantadine kuala lumpur cheap ginette 35 online buy lamisil cream uk cheap shuddha guggulu for hypothyroidism order lopid dosage buy urispas korea cheap viagra generic 100mg cheap ceftin generation cheap lotensin bula buy revia liquid order weight loss calculator cheap isoptin retard buy avodart canada buy triamterene in thailand cheap atorlip 10 sirve buy aygestin levitra discount prices order zyvox prescription liv 52 discount side effects topamax mail order order lasix overnight delivery sustiva discount prescription order motilium xarope order propecia vancouver buy penegra tablet buy rogaine 2 solution cheap betapace cheap kamagra oral jelly malaysia order coreg order brands amoxicillin philippines buy singulair 10 mg order ginseng xertigny buy hydroxyurea online zoloft get you high rogaine 2 discount solution buy haldol buy rogaine 5 year study cheap effexor xr tapering buy premarin from canada buy viagra plus from boots buy periactin you cheap prednisolone eye buy xenical canada buy bupropion sr drug interactions order prednisone xanax cheap ortho tri cyclen missed period order reminyl retard isoptin discount code buy cozaar vidal buy cipro quin cheap viramune prescription cholesterol lowering discount alternatives to statins cheap chloramphenicol yeast rumalaya forte discount gout order naprosyn high cheap ophthacare cheap desyrel generic buy aldactone online buy triamterene uses buy celexa xanax order accutane now buy xenical yuen long buy tadalis sx von ajanta pharma buy innopran xl tremors order weight loss on paleo diet cheap zyvox work cheap brand levitra last cymbalta discount coupon cheap ginette 35 wiki discount for benicar hct order alesse 21 online buy men;s health problems cheap glucophage very buy lipitor online usa buy singulair dublin buy aricept bali buy propecia australia buy prandin vegas cheap rhinocort ulotka cheap advair diskus reviews kamagra gold discount tapasztalat buy zofran dosage cheap tegretol side cheap voveran sr tablet buy uroxatral dosage cheap crestor version order pilex tablet zyvox discount generic buy tretinoin 0 05 harga vitacid buy capoten prescription order pain relief of gout cheap actoplus met savings card imitrex discount vouchers buy viagra sublingual no brasil urispas discount get order diclofenac gel evaluation buy motilium suspension buy famvir best place kamagra gold discount side effects buy revatio vegas buy rosuvastatin for cheap buy myambutol can mobic discount order effexor xr birth defects cheap antabuse cheap unisom version order pain relief natural buy zetia us discount for celebrex pravachol discount card crestor discount prices stromectol discount benemid discount voucher buy crestor vidal buy alphagan wiki buy hydrochlorothiazide dosage cheap anti viral avg antivirus order premarin status buy l tryptophan libido order revia mail order apcalis sx oral jelly review buy amitriptyline you buy kamagra with paypal order metformin rx buy ginseng singapore effexor xr discount vs lexapro cheap viagra uk paypal order avalide buy nolvadex south africa buy olanzapine london order mircette libido order compazine dosage order paxil legal order alavert status buy gas x online buy prednisolone liquid cheap casodex buy cheap hytrin a prescription order cardizem in canada birth order food allergies urispas discount pharmacy bystolic discount card forest buy kamagra soft bestellen buy requip japan buy bupropion sr get you high buy levitra plus bayer order desyrel kilo buy seroquel japan order mircette lawsuit buy can can slip order diamox from india rumalaya forte discount review cheap lady era in waiting dutas discount generic order femara multiples where to buy real cytotec order of skincare products wellbutrin sr discount headaches kamagra gold discount dejstvo cheap cholesterol lowering vitamins seroquel xr prices cheap ortho tri cyclen cost without insurance order atorlip 20 tabletas 20 mg discount on provigil buy periactin online mango track order uk viagra jelly discount coupons online buy aygestin uses buy flonase 120 order v gel polish sleep aid discount lavender order decadron shot order v gel airway antabuse discount buy cozaar discount coupons buy viagra jelly online buy minipress nightmares order propecia queensferry order pain relief xanax cheap mevacor bula order protonix uses buy ditropan xl online buy benfotiamine powder buy kamagra oral jelly paypal buy propranolol zealand diclofenac gel discount and pregnancy order erythromycin dosage cholesterol lower discount it naturally noroxin discount voucher azulfidine discount program cheap crestor 10mg buy l tryptophan msds order coumadin levels buy malegra fxt fluoxetine 100 40 mg order mango singapore cheap ginette 35 you gain weight buy gasex himalaya buy tricor korea ortho tri cyclen discount acne reviews cheap neurontin buy amitriptyline 10mg online cheap paroxetine generic order rosuvastatin generic buy propecia dublin buy anti fungal eye drops buy capoten from usa prazosin order online depressive order cholesterol lowering discount ldl naturally mango languages discount code buy erythromycin houston cheap diclofenac gel online cheap propecia nz buy rhinocort generic cheap effexor xr forum buy mevacor have buy alavert d 12 order neurontin dosage buy hydrea at walmart order zanaflex safe buy minocycline uk buy mircette uk cheap hair loss cheap arimidex in usa buy alavert used order sinemet plus zeroth order kinetics pain relief discount kidney stones
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews 5 Questions With...

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 1009 guests online

Atom RSS

5 Questions with... Tal Smith of the Astros PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 23
PoorBest 
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 17:24

Tal SmithOne aspect of The Biz of Baseball that I've always enjoyed doing are the interviews we've published. Of all the feedback we get at the Business of Sports Network, it is the long list of Q&As with those that work in sports business that always garner the most interest with readers.

As we are close to the one-year anniversary of The Biz of Baseball's launch, we thought the idea of adding shorter interviews to the site would be appropriate with a series called, "5 Questions with..."

For our initial installment, we are fortunate to have Tal Smith, the President of Baseball Operations, and currently the Interim General Manager for the Houston Astros (read our extensive interview with Tal Smith prior).

With the recent dismissals of general manager Tim Purpura and manager Phil Garner, Smith, principle owner Drayton McLane, and consultant Bob McLaren have been working feverishly to fill those positions.

While the series is called "5 Questions with...", Tal Smith is always willing to expand on subjects, even if the interview is conducted in the wee hours of the morning, as this one was. Five questions turned out to be a touch more.

Look for more of this new series of interviews including Rob Neyer and Ken Rosenthal arriving shortly. --

Maury Brown
Founder and President
Business of Sports Network

(Select Read More to see 5 Questions with Tal Smith)

Maury Brown for The Biz of Baseball: It’s been reported that the Astros have received over three dozen inquires regarding the general manager vacancy. How much of your time has been devoted to the effort, and what is the process the organization is using to sift through so many leads?

Tal Smith: I’ve spent virtually all of my time on the process. Obviously, we field a lot of inquiries and do a lot of due diligence. The interview process is part of it, but I think it’s a minor part. Most of the process involves looking at the body of work that potential candidates have done, looking at their track record, talking to people they have worked with and worked for and so on. That’s much more meaningful than the interview. The interview gives you a sense of personality and style and whether this person is somebody you think you could work with; but frankly, we have done seven interviews and as I point out to people, every one of the candidates surprisingly has answered the question, “Do you want to become a champion?” They all answer affirmatively. When they are asked if they hate losing, they all say, “Yeah, I can’t sleep after I lose. I’m a winner.” When you ask about their wife – if they are married – they all say their wife is a great woman and fully supports them and she loves baseball. The candidates have all said they have a real passion for the game and for the Astros.

My point is, you have to do a lot of work behind the scenes and I think there are a lot of people that don’t fully understand the process.

You asked about 3 dozen applications … we have had some direct applications obviously; and we have had a lot of calls. Drayton McLane, our owner, and I each got calls from other people – agents, newspaper men, friends – other people in the game, recommending candidates. Frankly, when you start this process, I put together a list from my own memory which may not be entirely complete, but by my count there is something like 60 living ex-GM’s. Now, that includes people that are retired like Buzzi (Bavasi), Joe Brown and Lee MacPhail, that I presume are not really interested in coming back (laughter).

There are a lot of those 60 ex-GM’s that are working for clubs today as Assistant GM’s or are Scouting Special Assistants or Super Scouts; so you obviously have to take a look at that. Then you look at each organization; and each organization frankly should have two, three, or four people – Scouting Directors, Farm Director, Player Personnel Directors, Assistant GM’s – that all obviously have some experience and something to offer, and you sift that. You could well put together a list of 150 people to interview – and obviously you cannot do that. So, you take into consideration the compatibility, how you think they will fit, what you know about them … and I had somebody here [in Houston] the other day who said it seems like they (the Astros) are focusing on guys who only have close ties to Tal Smith. I pointed out that I have been in the game for 50 years and with my consulting practice, I have worked with 26 of the 30 clubs, so it just stands to reason that I am acquainted with many of these people either professionally or personally. Frankly, I think the people you work with and you know are the people that you are best suited to measure. I use the analogy that it’s like elevating an assistant coach to a head coaching position in basketball or football…  you’re not sure what you are going to get. Some of them may be too soft and not take hold of the situation. In other cases, they may get carried away too much or, on the other end, get carried away, from the standpoint of ego and arrogance.

I think the same thing is a factor here. Obviously, there are a lot of very capable people that deserve consideration from what might be considered a number 2 position in an organization to a number 1 position, but that really requires a very careful examination to see how they are going to handle that. When I talk to newspaper men, I use the analogy that not everybody who is a good columnist or a good sports writer is qualified to become a good managing editor.

Bizball: As of this morning, you’ve interviewed seven candidates for the GM position (editors note: they are Logan White, assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals special assistant Muzzy Jackson, former Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles GM Jim Beattie, former Philadelphia Phillies GM Ed Wade, St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, Cleveland Indians director of player personnel Steve Lubratich and Phillies assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr.). Will the list of interviewees expand, or is the organization working to get the seven down to a set of final candidates?

Smith: We have ongoing interviews – we are still in the 1st round. We have internal candidates to consider. Our two assistants, Dave Godfried and Ricky Bennet –  both of whom are very well qualified … and it’s been widely reported that Bob Watson, former player and former GM for the Astros, who still makes his home here in Houston and is the current vice president for Major League Baseball, has asked to be considered. We are interviewing Bob Watson and David Gotfried today; Rick Bennet, our assistant GM of player development, will be interviewed on Thursday along with at least one external candidate. Then, the panel –  Drayton McLane, consultant Bob McLaren and I – will sit down to review where we are. We have extensive conversations every day to see if we should add other candidates to the 1st round of interviews or not, and that’s yet to be determined. I expect there may be a couple of additions, yet again, because of the urging of people and the fact that you want to be thorough and complete – you don’t want to miss something. As I said, we could probably interview three people from each organization plus all of the ex-GM’s. It’s an exhaustive process and most of the work has to be done behind the scenes – not in the interview. The interview is certainly part of it, but it’s not the major work.

Bizball: Have you considered Dave Littlefield?

Smith: No. Obviously that is a name that just became available, but we really haven’t even discussed Dave.

Bizball: Without getting into specifics, what is the ideal profile you and Mr. McLane are looking for in a general manager? Where, if at all, does an understanding or use of statistical analysis fit into that profile?

Smith: I guess it’s like asking about a player … you would like a 5 Tool player. You want a 5 Tool general manager, as well. Obviously that is a question we have asked because Drayton and I both think that sabermetrics and statistical analysis is a tool – it is a resource that should be employed in conjunction with the normal scouting activities. I think you use everything at your disposal. I think we want somebody that is comfortable and conversant with that; they don’t have to do the crunching of the numbers or understand all of the formulas and what-not, but I think they have to be receptive to that. Ideally you would like somebody that has a good sense from an evaluation standpoint; but again, I have to make the distinction that a good scout and the GM position is not the same thing. A GM gets to evaluate his own talent and the rest of the job is managing and directing, and I think some people confuse that and look at people who are successful talent evaluators and believe that is the key ingredient. It is a part that you would like to have in a GM, but not all great talent evaluators are going to become competent GMs.

Bizball: Is it critical to fill the GM position before finding a replacement for Phil Garner? And, do you have any type of projected target date to have the process of filling the vacancies complete?

Smith: Drayton had initially indicated that he would like to have it filled by the end of the season. Today is the 11th, so that gives us almost 3 weeks, and we are making progress. Whether we meet that timetable or not, I think we have to a chance to obviously, but we want to pick the right person and in some cases it may depend on the availability of the candidate. He may not be readily available. You might make the selection, but if you are asking me from a personal standpoint, I would say the sooner the better.

Bizball: To follow-up, would you like the GM in position to help in the selection of the dugout manager?

Smith: That’s something we have covered in the interviews. As you know, Cecil Cooper is our interim Manager and he has been our bench coach for three years. We think he is very well qualified and I think anybody coming in has to operate under the assumption that he is certainly the leading candidate for the Manager position … and for that not to happen, it would have to be a serious set of circumstances that would cause us to look in another direction.

Bizball: Lastly, rumors are rumors; where they start is often unknown. But, we might be able to put some of them to rest… There has been talk about Jeff Bagwell being considered for the GM position, and murmurs that Craig Biggio might have an interest in the manager’s position. Is there any truth to either of these rumors?

Smith: We have the highest regard for both Jeff and Craig, but that has never been discussed.


Interview conducted by Maury Brown on 9/11/2007

Interview transcribed by Mike Elsen, a staff member of the Business of Sports Network

Brown gives extra special thanks to Mike Elsen for working on the transcription process

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?