Exclusive Q&A with new Astros GM Brown
HOUSTON -- Dana Brown was hired as the Astros' general manager three weeks ago, and he has since been on a crash course to get up to speed on the organization, the roster and the ins and outs of Houston. He’ll leave for West Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday for the start of Spring Training, where the crash course will continue under the Florida sun.
Brown was able to take some time recently and answer some questions about his new job and his new home in Houston with MLB.com.
MLB.com: It's been a couple of weeks since you've been hired. What’s it been like getting up to speed on the job?
Brown: Getting in here, I wanted to make sure that I've met with all of the department heads in the front office and some of the other employees and some of the people in the [Astros] Foundation, some of the people in marketing. Just getting to know most of the employees here, and of course I've had multiple conversations with [manager] Dusty [Baker] and a few with the trainer, director of travel. So just getting used to talking to a lot of the employees here and just trying to get to know them.
MLB.com: What have you learned about the team so far and what's been your No. 1 question when you sit down with these department heads that you want to find out?
Brown: Yeah, so it's been great, just going over the team. In fact, we had a 40-man roster meeting [Monday]. And I know the players because we played against [the Astros], but it's different when you play a quick series versus a whole long year. So, you're trying to get to know the players, where your depth is, you want to know where your potential holes may be, where their exposure is. You want to get to know [which players] can you extend long term and those kinds of things. So, you know, it's the whole managing of the roster that you set your sights on.
MLB.com: You mentioned some possible contract extensions with some players. Obviously, Kyle Tucker, Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier are at the top of that list for the Astros. Where do you stand with that? Are those conversations that have already started?
Brown: We've started. Tucker, we've been in conversation. Some of the stuff was started prior to me coming. We had some talks with Tucker, of course, because it's coming up on the arbitration hearing, and Javier, he's also coming up on the arb hearing. … We've been in contact with some of the agents to get some thought process.
MLB.com: You waited a long time to be a GM and now you’ve got the keys -- what changes do you want to make now that you're in charge?
Brown: Well, the difficult part right now is the timing of the hire so close to Spring Training. The amateur staff has already started scouting, the player development staff will be in camp shortly, the big league team will be in camp. So it's probably difficult to make much adjustments. If there's an opportunity to maybe add somebody, we will add somebody. But at the end of the day, it's a lot of stuff that's been in motion prior to me getting here, and you're taking over a World Series champion. And so you want to come in and maybe assess the place a little bit, and then start to think about where you would like to make some of the adjustments and incorporate some of my experience and thought process as we move forward.
MLB.com: I’m sure you've been to Houston several times. What’s your opinion of the city? And how much are you looking forward to getting around town a little bit, getting to know it better?
Brown: Well, it's funny, I've always liked Houston because I'm a global service member with United, so whenever I would fly to Houston, it was pretty fun. So I was like, "OK, I'm going to Houston. This is great." But I've gotten to know the town a little bit. I've gotten to some of the better restaurants. Me and [Seton Hall teammate Craig] Biggio went and had dinner the other night. We caught up and we talked a lot about the Major League team and some of the vision of continuing the winning tradition. So I've gotten to some of the restaurants, some of the better fine dining.