I imagine that deadlines for essay submissions in university undergrad classes are a bit different from what I experienced. Most courses expected hard copies of your work to be handed in to a teaching assistant at the beginning of a scheduled seminar. However, nearing the end of my studies, more and more instructors asked that work be emailed to them by a certain time on a particular day. On more than one occasion I’d click the send button on an email, with an unnecessarily verbose essay attached, less than five minutes before a midnight deadline.

I was reminded of this last night when the Houston Astros sent out a press release minutes before midnight explaining that the organization, under Jim Crane’s new ownership, was letting go of General Manager Ed Wade and President of Baseball Operations Tal Smith. The search for a new GM will begins immediately, but in the interim, the team will be guided by Wade’s former lieutenant Dave Gottfried.

Wade’s four years on the job made him a relative newcomer to Houston in comparison to Smith who had been with the Astros a total of 35 years, the last 17 as club president.

According to FOX Sports:

The Astros, coming off the worst season in franchise history, aren’t expected to make many big-dollar moves this offseason. But Crane evidently wants his new GM and possibly his manager in place to evaluate the current players and shape of the organization moving forward. The Astros will move from the NL to the AL for the 2013 season.

After exhibiting an inability to properly sell off his team’s assets as a means of speeding up the rebuilding process, Wade’s ineffectual trades have been the source of many jokes for snarky baseball bloggers and other pundits. Throw in a few multiple year contracts gone bad to Brandon Lyon, Kaz Matsui and Brett Myers and it becomes easy to criticize the man in charge of the Astros over the last four seasons.

Texas Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine is the likely favourite to replace Wade, but another interesting option is Gerry Hunsicker, currently senior vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays. Hunsicker was the Astros GM from 1996 through 2004. The club reached the postseason in five of his nine seasons, and according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, he would embrace a return to his old stomping grounds.

In related news, Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was seen weeping while wearing black.

And The Rest

There is a 100% chance that the St. Louis Cardinals bring back Albert Pujols, according to Jeff Passan’s source. [Yahoo! Sports]

New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain’s elbow surgery rehab is right on schedule. [River Avenue Blues]

Would the Baltimore Orioles actually be silly enough to put young starter Chris Tillman on the trade market this winter? [MASN Sports]

Brian Tallet was almost the victim of identity theft. At least someone was attempting to get some use out of him. [St. Louis Today]

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired accused rapist Josh Lueke from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for catcher John Jaso. [Getting Blanked]

Did the Chicago White Sox misjudge the market for Mark Buehrle? [Chicago Sun Times]

Chicago Cubs (for now) starter Carlos Zambrano was hit in the face with a come backer in winter ball. He’s going to take some rest because of it. [Twitter]

The Toronto Blue Jays dumpster dove through the Cleveland Indians system for middle infielder Luis Valbuena. [Getting Blanked]

They may not have been able to sway assistant GM Tony LaCava away from the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Baltimore Orioles have successfully hired away professional crosschecker Gary Rajsich to be their team’s new amateur scouting director. [The Baltimore Sun]

We’re all waiting on Yu to make up his mind. [Yard Barker]

It appears as though someone either fell for all the hooplah or isn’t very subtle about seeking a job with Major League Baseball. [The Boston Herald]

Billy Wagner is not a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies. [New York Post]

How easy is it to forget about Cal Ripken’s games played streak? Fairly easy if you’re The Sporting News or Sporting News if you prefer. [Washington Times]

I remember when opening a pack of baseball cards was a big deal for me too, but then I turned eleven. [CSN Washington]