That doesn't mean he expects the turnaround to be swift for a team that finished with the worst record in baseball last season at 56-106.
Luhnow was a vice president with the St. Louis Cardinals last season. He takes over for Ed Wade, who was fired late last month in the first major move by new Astros owner Jim Crane.
Luhnow wouldn't give a timeframe for when he thinks the Astros will be able to contend. But he did say that "it's going to be a challenge and it's going to be years."
Crane says that Luhnow signed a multi-year contract, but wouldn't provide any further details.
Astros make RHP Cruz top pick in Rule 5 draft
The Houston Astros have made pitcher Rhiner Cruz the top pick in baseball's Rule 5 draft.
The draft of players left off the 40-man rosters of major league teams was held Thursday at the winter meetings.
The right-handed Cruz was a combined 5-3 with seven saves in Class A and Double-A for the New York Mets. A total of 12 players were picked in the major league portion of the draft, with teams paying $50,000 to claim them. A drafted player must stay on his new team's 25-man roster or be offered back to his original club for $25,000.