As soon as former Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns announced he was stepping down from his role, speculation began that he was orchestrating his exit from the organization.
In his press conference making the announcement, Stearns cited burnout and a desire to spend more time with family and friends and reiterated that he is not going anywhere. Stearns stated firmly that he would be in Milwaukee in 2023 to finish out his contract as a senior advisor to Matt Arnold and Mark Attanasio.
That did little to quell the rumors connecting him to other open opportunities. The Mets have coveted Stearns for years and they would certainly be willing to place him as PBO above GM Billy Eppler. But the more interesting situation that popped up was the Houston Astros.
Despite winning the World Series, Astros owner Jim Crane fired GM James Click at the end of the season and they've been without a GM ever since. Their search is ongoing, and Stearns' name has just popped up again.
The Houston Astros are interested in the idea of taking David Stearns away from the Brewers to lead their baseball operations department.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in his latest notes column, Astros owner Jim Crane is "intrigued" by the idea of bringing Stearns back to Houston. Stearns was an assistant GM for the Astros when the Brewers hired him back in 2015.
This isn't particularly surprising and there were reports of interest back when Stearns announced he was stepping down. Now that we're a few months down the road, his name has popped up again, which is interesting in itself.
Since Stearns is still under contract for the 2023 season, the Astros would be required to receive permission from the Brewers in order to interview him for any job.
In this "update" that Rosenthal reports, he states that it is unknown whether the Astros have requested permission to interview Stearns or if they will request permission before they make a decision on their next GM. It's also reportedly not known if Stearns has any interest in jumping back into a decision making role so quickly.
If the Astros do request permission, receive it, decide to hire Stearns, and Stearns decides he wants to take the job, the Brewers could reasonably request compensation from the Astros in order to let Stearns leave. That could be a prospect or even a big league player, but most likely a prospect.
Until we know that either the Astros have requested permission to interview Stearns or that Stearns would be willing to jump back into a decision making role, none of this is particularly new information. The fact that this is coming up again now might suggest that at least one of those things is the case. Otherwise, it makes no sense for Rosenthal to be getting these reports and writing them up.
It's possible something's changed, maybe the Astros don't like their current crop of options and are hot after Stearns, maybe Stearns wants back in after three months of taking a step back. Whatever it is, the Stearns Saga isn't over yet. Rumors like this are likely to persist until Stearns either returns as Brewers PBO (unlikely) or decides where he wants to go next.