HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Jeff Banister, who led the Texas Rangers to back-to-back AL West division titles in 2015 and 2016 before being let go near the end of the 2018 season, is set to interview with the Houston Astros for their manager position according to a report late Monday night.

Former manager of the Texas Rangers, Jeff Banister. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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“According to MLB sources former Rangers manager Jeff Banister has been contacted by the #Astros and will interview with team officials this week as the club continues its search for a new manager,” Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston said in a tweet Monday night.

Astros owner Jim Crane said he expects to hire a new manager by Monday, February 3.

Crane has so far reportedly interviewed former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, former Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter and former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker for the position, along with Chicago Cubs third base coach Will Venable.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired last Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

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“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)