You've recently been fired as general manager of the Houston Astros and your cellphone rings.

It's Ruben Amaro Jr. calling. He wants to know if you'd be interested in rejoining the Phillies as a special consultant.

That's a big step down in title and pay from your previous job with the organization. It means you now report to several people, including Amaro, who used to report to you.

What do you do?

Ed Wade had to think about it.

"I said, 'Let's park it in neutral so I can get my head around a lot of things,' " Wade said.

Wade, 56, did not need a job. He is being paid a handsome sum by the Astros for two more years. He has enough respect in the game that the last time he was out of work, Kevin Towers, one of the most highly regarded general managers in baseball, hired him to scout for the San Diego Padres.

Amaro, a willing trade partner with Wade in recent years, wanted his close friend back in Philadelphia and believed it could work.

"I had no idea whether he'd be interested in doing it, but I was curious to find out," Amaro said. "I guess it was kind of a delicate situation because he had just been let go. But last time he was let go, he jumped right back into it and worked for Kevin Towers pretty quickly. Ed likes to work and I know he likes working in the game."

A few days after their initial conversation, Wade asked Amaro to clearly define his role, and, after a conversation with his family, he decided he wanted to rejoin the Phillies.

"It's a full plate, which is what I wanted," Wade said. "It was really the same conversation I had with Kevin Towers. I did not want a token position. I didn't need it from an economic standpoint and I don't want to just be there. The role they carved out for me is very fulfilling. I'll have a chance to see the entire system from the major leagues to the Gulf Coast League. I'll scout a few outside triple-A and big-league clubs."

He is going to compile some serious Marriott points.

"Ed is not someone who has a tremendous ego," Amaro said. "I don't see any downside to this."

After rejoining the Phillies, Wade was asked by Amaro how much he still knew about the Phillies farm system. He could not pass up the opportunity at a good-natured jab.

"I said, 'I know enough to know the better players are all wearing Astros uniforms now,' " he said.

That, of course, is in reference to the two trades Wade made with Amaro during his tenure as the Astros general manager.

According to Baseball America, four of Houston's top six minor-league players were acquired by Wade in deadline deals with the Phillies the last two seasons. The top two - first baseman Jonathan Singleton and pitcher Jarred Cosart - and outfielder Domingo Santana, No. 6 on the list, were acquired in the Hunter Pence deal. The No. 4 player on the list, shortstop Jonathan Villar, went to the Astros in the 2010 Roy Oswalt trade.

Even though he's back with the Phillies, Wade will watch with interest the development of those Astros minor-leaguers with Philadelphia roots.

"My heart and soul is with the Phillies," he said. "I want to wear a ring that says Phillies on it. I still get a paycheck from the Astros and I want all those kids we acquired, whether it was from the Phillies or Atlanta in the Michael Bourn deal, to show up at the big-league level and be good players. They all have a chance to be really good players."

A World Series ring also came up in Wade's conversation with Amaro.

"I think his quote to me was, 'Ruben, this is one of the better opportunities I will have to wear a ring and I'd like to be a part of it,' " Amaro said.

Wade, of course, was gone when the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. He was asleep when Brad Lidge, another player he traded from Houston, recorded the final out of the World Series, ending Philadelphia's long championship drought. His cellphone erupted with text messages after former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick paid Wade a compliment for putting together much of the nucleus that won the World Series.

"I was flattered that he did that, but that was Pat's team just like this is Ruben's team," Wade said.

Wade said he's looking forward to having an extended conversation in spring training with Gillick, who is now a senior adviser for the team.

"Pat and I haven't had that kind of relationship," Wade said. "We do have some connections in other ways. I remember Pope [the late Paul Owens] telling me that when Pat became GM of the Blue Jays, he used to ride his bike over from Dunedin to Clearwater and pick Pope's brain. We also have both had longtime friendships with Tal Smith. I can't wait to get to know him better and get his perspective on things."

Inside the Phillies: Wade's Trades

Ed Wade is back with the Phillies as a special consultant after four seasons as general manager with the Houston Astros. Wade said he made trades with 16 clubs during his tenure in Houston. Here are the three Phillies fans remember most:

Nov. 7, 2007

OF Michael Bourn, P Geoff Geary, and IF Mike Costanzo are traded from the Phillies to Houston for P Brad Lidge and IF Eric Bruntlett.

Comments: Bourn made two all-star teams and won two Gold Gloves with the Astros and was traded to Atlanta last season. Lidge converted all 48 of his save opportunities in 2008, but was never the same after that.

July 29, 2010

SS Jonathan Villar, OF Anthony Gose, and pitcher J.A. Happ are traded from the Phillies to Houston for P Roy Oswalt.

Comments: Oswalt went 7-1 to help the Phillies win their fourth straight NL East title in 2010, but he spent significant time on the disabled list in 2011 with a back injury, and his option for 2012 was declined. He was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five playoff appearances with the Phillies. Villar is the fourth-best prospect in the Astros system, according to Baseball America. Gose was immediately traded to Toronto for first baseman Brett Wallace and is now the second-best prospect in Toronto's system. Happ went 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA for Houston last season.

July 29, 2011

Pitchers Josh Zeid, Jarred Cosart, 1B Jonathan Singleton, and OF Domingo Santana are traded from the Phillies to Houston for RF Hunter Pence.

Comments: Pence hit .324 with a .394 on-base percentage and slugged 11 home runs in 54 games after joining the Phillies last season. Singleton and Cosart are ranked first and second, respectively, among Baseball America's top 10 Houston prospects. - Bob Brookover