Astros' search goes on without Acta
Houston GM Wade confirms offer to Tribe's new skipper
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Ed Wade confirmed on Sunday that the team made an offer to Manny Acta to be its next manager before he opted to fill the same position with Cleveland, and Wade said he was confident the club would be able to hire a quality manager.
According to sources close to the negotiations, Acta turned down the Astros' offer of a two-year deal plus a one-year option to manage the team in favor of Cleveland's three-year deal with a one-year option for 2013. Acta said Sunday he wouldn't comment on contract negotiations, but Wade confirmed with MLB.com he and president of baseball operations Tal Smith met with Acta on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
"We met, and we made an offer, and we knew that he was scheduled to have another conversation with Cleveland [Saturday] night, and Tal was actually the direct line of communication with Manny and us," Wade said. "Tal called me late [Saturday] night and made me aware Manny had accepted Cleveland's offer.
"We knew going into this process he had multiple suitors, and that's one of the reasons why we had multiple candidates. We have a strong group of candidates remaining, and we'll make good decisions and have a very effective manager for now and long haul."
The Astros had narrowed their list of 10 original candidates to four, and now appear to be focused on three remaining candidates -- former Astros manager Phil Garner, Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills and Dave Clark, who took over as interim manager for the final 13 games after Cecil Cooper was dismissed on Sept. 21.
Houston owner Drayton McLane said he'd like to have a manager in place by Wednesday.
"We had narrowed it to four good candidates and we're in the process of finding one of those [candidates]," he said.
The 40-year-old Acta beat out Triple-A Columbus manager Torey Lovullo, and former Mets and Rangers manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, both of whom were in Cleveland last week for interviews last week.
Acta was signed by the Astros at age 17 out of the Dominican Republic and spent six years as a player in their Minor Leagues and 10 years as a coach and a manager in the Houston organization. In 1999, he managed the Kissimmee Cobras to the Florida State League championship.
"I really liked Manny, thought he was an effective choice for us," Wade said. "He's a solid big league manager and had alternatives. He had to weigh both offers and how they impacted him, and he made his decision, and I truly believe we'll end up having an effective Major League manager."
Acta compiled a 158-252 record with the Nationals before he was dismissed in July. The Indians have been looking for a new manager since they dismissed Eric Wedge and his coaching staff the final week of the '09 season.
"I am very excited to become part of the Cleveland Indians family," Acta said in a release. "I look forward to working with this talented group of young men who seem to possess a lot of energy and passion for their work. I believe we will grow together as a team with the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland and its fans."
The others who had interview with the Astros were Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique; former Milwaukee manager Ned Yost; San Diego hitting coach Randy Ready; former Seattle and Arizona manager Bob Melvin; Philadelphia bench coach Pete Mackanin; and Boston Red Sox first-base coach Tim Bogar.
"We're not dragging our feet in any aspect of the progress, but the goal is to get to the finish line sooner rather than later," Wade said. "We still have to put the coaching staff together and begin the process so we can field a successful team."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.