PHILADELPHIA -- The long-awaited interview of former Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker for the Phillies' vacant GM's job took place in Philadelphia on Thursday.
Hunsicker, a Collegeville, Pa., native who built Houston into a consistent contender, met with team president David Montgomery at Citizens Bank Park. Assistant GM Mike Arbuckle had interviewed Wednesday, while assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is expected to interview over the weekend.
League sources confirmed the meeting, though Hunsicker didn't return a call seeking comment. He was quoted in at least two Philadelphia newspapers on Thursday, in which he acknowledged the meeting and called it "productive."
Hunsicker, 55, has long been considered one of the top names on a list of candidates that includes Arbuckle, Amaro Jr., and former Toronto GM Pat Gillick. Three other possibilities, Brian Cashman, Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, are no longer available. Cashman and Bowden signed contract extensions with the Yankees and Nationals, respectively, and Duquette took a job with the Orioles earlier this month.
The Phillies aren't the only team interested in Hunsicker's services. He is being pursued by the Devil Rays to serve as a mentor to 28-year-old Andrew Friedman, the team's new director of baseball operations. The two men met in Houston earlier this week for a second interview.
Hunsicker wants to be a GM again, and the Phillies appear to be an ideal fit. He resigned after the 2004 season, citing a desire to take some time off, but many believed he grew weary of working for owner Drayton McLane. While with the Astros, he helped build a team that reached the World Series this year and made the playoffs in six of his 10 seasons as general manager.
He often worked with a limited budget, but always seemed to add the right piece when necessary. He signed Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens and acquired center fielder Carlos Beltran in a midseason trade in 2004. He also traded for or signed talents such as Randy Johnson, Octavio Dotel, Moises Alou, Carl Everett and Vinny Castilla.
An added bonus could be his relationship with Phillies closer Billy Wagner.
"Gerry would be a fine fit in Philadelphia," Wagner said recently. "I know Gerry, and I know what he's capable of. He's one guy that can go out there and get things done. He's fantastic, and he'll go out there and find that piece that's missing to get you over the hump."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.