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Purpura, Levine being considered for Rangers' Director of Player Development

Per Evan Grant, the Rangers are reportedly considering former Houston Astros general manager Tim Purpura to replace the departed Scott Servais as the team's Director of Player Development, and are also considering moving assistant general manager Thad Levine into that role.

Levine has also, per Grant, been given permission to interview with the Houston Astros about their vacant general manager job. Andrew Friedman, the Rays' general manager (who works under former Astro g.m. Gerry Hunsicker), has also been given permission to interview for that job.

A couple of interesting aspects of this...Levine has been bandied about as a guy the Astros had interest in for a while. Jim Crane obviously is very familiar with the Rangers' front office, given his unsuccessful run at buying the team last year, and it wouldn't be surprising if he were to try to raid the front office in looking to rebuild the Astros. Levine is also reportedly very well thought of around baseball, and viewed as a future general manager.

Levine is kind of a Minister Without Portfolio right now in the Rangers' front office, with a title of assistant general manager. Grant notes that putting Levine in charge of player development would give him an opportunity to manage a department, something that he hasn't done in the past.

As for Purpura, his name coming up is interesting, given that in 2008, when rumors were swirling that Nolan Ryan was on the verge of axing both Ron Washington and Jon Daniels, Purpura was frequently mentioned as Daniels' likely replacement. Purpura's stint as the Astros' general manager was disastrous, although how much of that is on him and how much of that is the result of a dysfunctional operating structure that featured Tal Smith as team president and Drayton McLane as a difficult owner is hard to say.

During the 2009-10 offseason, there was a certain closing of the ranks in the Rangers' front office. Daniels ended up with an "inner circle" of his guys -- Levine, A.J. Preller, Scott Servais, and Don Welke. There seemed to be some thought that Ryan was letting Daniels pick his people, but that if 2010 didn't work out, there'd be significant changes, potentially including a new g.m.

2010 worked out, of course. But now we're starting to see the inevitable fallout of having a successful organization...Daniels' core guys are being poached. And I'm curious to see how much involvement the team president has in deciding who will replace those people.