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Business as usual for Wade, Mills, players

Business as usual for Wade, Mills, players

Business as usual for Wade, Mills, players
HOUSTON -- The news that the Astros are soon going to have new ownership didn't have much effect on the players, who have had a growing curiosity in recent days about Jim Crane, but are too wrapped up in the grind of the season to give it much thought.

The transfer of ownership from Drayton McLane to a group led by Crane figures to have a bigger impact on the front office, however.

General manager Ed Wade said on Monday that he'll continue running the day-to-day operations of the club in the same fashion he has for the last 3 1/2 years. Wade was hired by McLane late in the 2007 season and given the difficult task of overhauling the farm system while working with a reduced payroll.

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It's impossible to say what changes in philosophy or personnel Crane might make when Major League Baseball approves the deal, but for now it's business as usual.

"I show up every day, and that's the same philosophy I've had since my first [day] in baseball, on Feb. 1, 1977," Wade said. "You show up and do the best you can every day, and that's the conditions we've operated under [during] Drayton's ownership."

Tal Smith, the Astros' president of baseball operations, who's been in baseball 54 years -- the previous 17 with Houston -- said that new ownership has generally been a good thing for the franchise throughout the years.

"The page turns now, and it's a new opportunity for Jim Crane and his ownership group, and I'm sure that will bode well for the fans of Houston," Smith said. "When change happens, you make the most of it."

Right fielder Hunter Pence doesn't know much about Crane and has never met him, but said that change is a part of life.

"That's something out of our control," Pence said. "Time will tell what it really means. Ultimately, right now, all my focus is on playing baseball and winning and trying to get better. That's something out of my control and something that's going to go on. I look forward to [meeting him] whatever happens."

Manager Brad Mills, who's in his second year on the job, also doesn't know much about his soon-to-be boss. He did take an opportunity in recent days to informally tell his players that they are going to be having new ownership.

"All I've heard is a lot of good things, and there's nothing other than that," Mills said.

Crane said during Monday's news conference that he wants to continue building the team through the First-Year Player Draft and player development, which is what Wade has been doing since he took over. Wade has made substantial inroads in improving the Minor League system and has made a splash in international signings.

"The results at the big league level are always the most scrutinized pieces, so let's continue to have an open mind to the things we think we can do in the short term to make us better, but don't lose sight of the long term," Wade said. "I certainly would not advocate us making a play for one key acquisition that would cost us three or four top prospects, because that would put us back in a position that the organization was in four years ago.

"I think if you're going to get good, [if] you want to get good and stay good, the only way to do that is to do the types of things we've had to do over the last 3 1/2 years. I'm proud of the people we have in place at levels of the organization, particularly in baseball operations, because that's my responsibility."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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