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The Astros are off to a 0-4 start, and that coupled with preseason predictions of doom and gloom has already got some executives thinking about a Houston fire sale. With the lack of available arms on the market this season, one name that could make sense for other teams, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, is Astros LHP Wandy Rodriguez.
• Two early names the same exec nominates as potential pitching targets, just based on the probabilities their teams will be selling by July: Wandy Rodriguez and Mike Pelfrey.
Of course, this ignores a few facets of reality. One of which is that the Astros just signed Rodriguez to a long-term extension before the season. Even if Houston did change course and want to trade him, they've effectively lowered his trade value by attaching him to the 3 year/$34 million contract. Then there's the fact that Rodriguez got off to a terrible start last season and didn't look good in his first start of this year either, so if that continues, his trade value will only further erode.
It's an idea with a decent amount of sentiment behind it: the Astros probably should be looking to trade Rodriguez given where their club is positioned. But they have been bucking conventional wisdom for quite awhile now, and it's pretty unlikely that they'd give Rodriguez a new contract just to trade him five months later.
It's not often that we get two articles which dovetail so nicely with each other on the same day. Both Ken Rosenthal and Richard Justice opined Tuesday on the state of the Houston Astros and made some very solid points. Let's run through the points that each of them makes.
First, Rosenthal tackles the Astros sale and transfer to new owner Jim Crane:
As for Justice, he tackles the other end of the spectrum, discussing how the franchise got into the current situation. He calls Drayton out for playing "Sweet Caroline" during the Red Sox series, but rightly points out it wasn't the 20th lowest point in his tenure as owner. However, the whole experience this weekend (and this year) has been pretty terrible.
Justice has never stopped harping on Drayton for running off Gerry Hunsicker, but that was much more of a turning point for this organization than just the firing may look like. At that point, Drayton started asserting more control over things, including new GM Tim Purpura. A guy like Hunsicker had enough experience to resist Drayton's influence, but Purpura wasn't. That led to things like Woody Williams and Carlos Lee signing and the dearth of the 2007 draft.
According to this tweet from KPRC’s Randy McIlvoy, the proposed sale of the Houston Astros to Jim Crane could now be two to three weeks away. McIlvoy said he talked with Drayton McLane about the move and that the Dodgers bankruptcy is causing that timeline.
That means the sale will be completed just before the trade deadline, which could severely limit the time Ed Wade has to get returns on Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence and the rest of the team.
Crane agreed to buy the team back in May, but has been slowly moving through the process to get approved by Major League Baseball. Forbes has brought up numerous concerns about his former company, Eagle Global Logistics, and a spotty record with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Add to that a charge that EGL was selling goods to the armed forces at drastically increased rates and MLB may have needed to thoroughly vet Crane this time around.
On the other hand, since Crane has been involved twice before in attempts to buy teams, he’s a known commodity to Bud Selig’s crew. The problems now may all stem from Frank McCourt’s messy divorce and public contests of strength with Selig.
Either way, it sounds more and more likely that Crane will be approved by the trading deadline. Stay tuned…
Craig Calcaterra and I both brought out our jump to conclusion mats about MLB’s new investigation of Jim Crane’s past, thinking that it was likely that the war profiteering charges spurred the effort. Not so fast, says Maury Brown: there were other charges that were leveled by just one source that could be the underlying cause of the investigation:
It’s possible, but I suspect it’s something else.
In my interviews with MLB, I brought up an aspect that I had from a single source, but could not confirm. I ran it by league executives to see what they had to say.
The response was surprise. In subsequent conversation, they could not corroborate what I had been hearing after doing further investigation after I broached the subject.
It’s possible that this is what Rogers is referring to – MLB looking into the matter, not finding anything, or they could be looking further to make absolutely sure it is nothing of concern. As of publication, multiple attempts to reach out to MLB on the subject have gone unanswered. And, it should be noted that when the topic was mentioend to a representative of Mr. Crane, the reply was, “There is nothing known of, nor considered about it.”
On what the matter is, it should be noted that is not some insidious issue. It does center on business and very clear rules that baseball has around the type of business.
Oh no! Jim Crane bet on baseball!
We’ll bring you more on this story as we get it, but it doesn’t seem like the new charges are too serious. It does bring yet another shady hand of the Crane industry to the forefront though, and while I’m sure Astros fans are tired of hearing about it at this point, the fact that there is always more to this story has to give them reason for pause when considering just how much they really want Crane owning the team.
Maybe Drayton McLane wasn’t really so bad.
Maury Brown's Forbes profile of Jim Crane continues to haunt the Astros owner-to-be. While Major League Baseball was aware of most of the accusations, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune notes that one of them has MLB staffers scrambling to do research, and that it has an 'outside chance' of complicating the sale:
Despite an unflattering profile in Forbes Magazine, which details a long history of employment complaints from minorities and women, Houston businessman Jim Crane still appears on track to be approved as the Astros' new owner. However, one source said Major League Baseball staffers are investigating one allegation raised in the story, with an outside chance it could complicate the transfer.
MLB long ago vetted Crane, who was involved in attempts to purchase the Cubs and Rangers, and excused him in almost all of the cases Forbes raises. But at least one element of the story surprised Selig's staff, requiring additional legwork.
Very interesting. Don't worry though, the source claims it has nothing to do with the recent foibles of Frank McCourt. Of course it doesn't.
I think it's pretty easy to infer that the war profiteering accusations are the ones that MLB did not know about, since Brown pointed that out already in his piece. I really doubt it matters and think that Crane will be approved either way, but Houston fans can't be too thrilled with all the accusations.
Following his detailed step-by-step recounting of Jim Crane’s more sordid issues in the recent past, including war profiteering and the discrimination lawsuit his company faced, Maury Brown has wondered aloud just why the Houston Chronicle doesn’t have much interest in reporting on Crane’s backstory
The story on Forbes is mostly interesting for one thing: it’s amazing that myself, and Richard Sandomir of The New York Times (see Bias Case May Pose a Problem for Bidder) are really the only two that have reported on past dealings with Crane’s global-supply chain company and their discrimination and war-profiteering pasts.
Sports sections in the Houston market have been devoid of the report. Whether it’s a matter of just feeling it was not newsworthy or not, it should be noted that Champion Energy, a Crane Capital company, and the Astros are very large Houston Chronicle advertisers.
Connecting the dots and jumping to conclusions isn’t something I’m fond of, and obviously we don’t have both sides of the story. But this looks bad for all parties involved. I was a little curious yesterday as to why Brown’s reporting had cited The Chronicle and yet The Chronicle had never brought their own public record into the light. That, also, is not a good look for the paper.
Want another bombshell? How about the fact that even MLB itself did not know about the instances of war profiteering:
I conducted several interviews with executives within Major League Baseball for the Forbes article. The issue of discrimination was known, but aspects such as the war profiteering, were not. That was concerning given Crane’s multiple attempts at ownership prior. The explanation was that deep due-diligence work does not begin until an exclusive arrangement is reached between owner and potential buyer.
Now of course, that’s not to say that Crane will fail in his attempt to buy the Astros, but after recent high-profile instances of owners like Fred Wilpon and Frank McCourt letting their personal problems drag franchises down with them, it would not be surprising if MLB started to take Crane’s bid under a little more scrutiny. I wouldn’t count on it, and I would even go as far as to speculate that the fact that the purchase price was so large was to help cover Crane’s past with a little more capital, but it’s certainly a possibility.
Tweets (ugh, I know, but I don’t have actual phone numbers here) to the Chronicle’s baseball department seeking comment were not immediately returned. Astros.com beat writer Brian McTaggart declined comment.
Maury Brown, who runs the Business Of Baseball website, has a cameo in Forbes Magazine today to talk about the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane. While there aren’t any incredibly surprising new stories here, there are some very unsavory details added to stories that were already discussed before. For instance, take the discrimination case against his company, Eagle Global Logistics:
Crane told his subordinates not to hire blacks because “once you hire blacks, you can never fire them.” On other occasions, Crane explained the reason he wanted to keep blacks out of the company was that his top managers are bigoted and they would mistreat the minorities, “giving them no choice but to sue Eagle.”
Witnesses also said Crane did not permit the company to advertise job openings because he did not want to create a paper trail of unhired qualified minorities.
Thats uh, that’s not a good thing at all. His company also engaged in some good ol’ fashioned war profiteering:
A further matter that will sure to raise eyebrows, Crane’s Eagle Global Logistics has settled war profiteering charges with the Justice Department. All told, EGL was sued four times by the Department of Justice.
In August 2006, Eagle paid $4 million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice alleging that the company had inflated the costs of military shipments to Iraq.
While neither of these things is a particularly good reason to think that the Astros will be under bad management, it definitely does show a side of Crane that should give fans some doubt about how happy they are with the sale of the team to him.
For the record, Richard Justice thinks Crane will be approved 29-0 by his fellow owners.
According to Richard Justice at The Houston Chronicle, Jim Crane met with Bud Selig on Monday. I’m assuming Selig gave a soliloquy along the lines of “if you act like Fred Wilpon or Frank McCourt, I will murder you,” to which Crane nodded. Justice reports that Selig is expected to give his blessing to Crane’s purchase of the Astros.
Selig met Crane for just the second time Monday and is expected to support his $680 million purchase of the Astros. Selig already knew plenty about Crane before their meeting and never would have allowed the sale of the Astros to get this far if he weren’t comfortable with him.
I’ve known Selig for almost 30 years, and if he thought there was an ounce of racism or sexism in Crane’s bones, he never would allow him to own a major league baseball team.
It’s pretty obvious that the sale would never have gotten this far if Crane and Selig didn’t see eye-to-eye, so this is more of an affirmation of that than an actual update. New ownership is coming to the Astros. Look for the discrimination charges Crane’s company faced to continue to be a background piece when the official vote comes up, but not really anything that can stop the sale from taking place.
The New York Times put together some facts on the recent discrimination case against Astros owner-to-be Jim Crane. While it’s definitely not a good look for Crane, the Times may be going just a bit overboard here in their search for a story.
Rob Manfred, an executive vice president of baseball, would not address the findings of the E.E.O.C. He described Crane as a “viable candidate” to take over the Astros.
Thus, the accusations against Crane — which were made public a decade ago and have gained notoriety again in recent weeks — create a potential problem for Selig and baseball. On Monday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a statement describing what it called Crane’s “dismal record in the area of discrimination,” and saying that he should be closely monitored.
According to a person involved in the Rangers’ sale, Selig at the time called Crane “unapprovable.” Manfred, the baseball executive, this week denied Selig had ever made such a determination.
“To the extent that someone suggested that there was an approvability problem at the time of the Rangers’ transaction, I believe that to be incorrect,” he said.
Is the accusation troubling? Sure. Should he be monitored closely, as the NAACP postulates? Probably. But it’s hard to see Selig letting Crane get this far in the process without already having pre-approved him to own the team. Particularly given the size of the loan Crane is going to take out with MLB itself.
There are some legitimate concerns about Crane’s ownership off-the-field, that much is clear. But it won’t be anything that will keep him from actually buying the Astros.
I’m not one for fear-mongering, and I’d like to actually see Jim Crane in action before I judge what kind of owner he’ll be, but if you’re already worried about the post-Drayton Astros, here’s some news that won’t help you sleep at night. Jim Crane will finance $300 million of the $680 million sale price via loans. That number is shockingly high, and puts him in the company of someone you’d rather not associate with the Astros: embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Maury Brown has more:
According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, “In 2010 the Astros had operating income of $14 million, so if Crane parks $300 million of debt on the team the franchise would be in technical default of the league’s debt limit, which is 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.”
Whether it’s to keep partial ownership or get around MLB’s debt rules, Drayton McLane will reportedly keep a $65 million minority stake in the club. Crane will have just $70 million and $125 million skin in the game. Crane’s partners are pitching in $300 million, and believe it or not, the rest will be a loan out of Major League Baseball.
All of which is to say: keep your eye on that Astros payroll number as well as on the moves that Crane makes. He can hire Andrew Friedman and all the boy wonders he wants, but carrying a low payroll is going to limit the number of mistakes the Astros can make. That would not be fun times.
As the dust settles—both on the agreements that Drayton McLane had written up to sell the Astros to Jim Crane and on the team itself—Astros fans find themselves wondering what the next step is. Unfortunately, because Crane still needs to be approved by Major League Baseball, most of it is at the innuendo stage at this point. But here’s what we know for now.
Richard Justice believes that both Tal Smith and Pam Gardner, who run the Astros’ baseball and business operations, will be out by the end of the season. He also believes that even if the Astros aren’t able to persuade Andrew Friedman to take the reins of the franchise, Astros GM Ed Wade has only a “slim chance” of surviving and new CEO George Postolos will be a driving force in finding “someone like Daryl Morey or Andrew Friedman.”
Granted, Justice isn’t exactly someone I’d run to for my scoops on things, because he doesn’t break too many stories. However, if there’s one team in town he’s close to, it’s the Astros.
Per The Examiner’s Stephen Goff, Wade hadn’t met Crane until yesterday’s press conference. Not exactly a great sign for his continued employment. Wade believes that if the sale is approved before the trade deadline, it could have a drastic effect on how the club approaches things. I would assume that is in reference to players like Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, and maybe Hunter Pence as well. The Astros have a lot of players in this mold: solid contributors that have market-level contracts. If new ownership is as data-driven as rumored, look for players in that mold to be dealt.
Meanwhile, Crane has received permission from McLane to attend the team’s draft room, Buster Olney says. The way Olney writes about the sale, it doesn’t look like immediate changes are coming as soon as Crane gets on board officially. Instead, he says they’ll “spend the months ahead evaluating the organization.” I assume Crane and Postolos already have pretty solid ideas about what they’ll do, but that they’ll try to ease the current administration’s staff down. To give them a better chance for future opportunities elsewhere.
Astros-owner-to-be Jim Crane took to the podium today in an organized news conference that announced that he would acquire the team from Drayton McLane. While Crane didn’t have a whole lot of specifics to give out, seeing as how he doesn’t own the team yet, he quickly set to distance himself from the McLane administration.
“This is a dream come true for me and my partners. Owning the Houston Astros in my home town and being in business with people I like and respect is all I could ever wish for. I love baseball. We look forward to doing a great job for the city of Houston and the Astros fans.”
“I don’t think anybody in the room is happy where we’re at,” Crane said of the status of the franchise. “We want to work with what’s here and make good decisions.”
Crane also spoke about the direction of the franchise’s ownership, specifically about how his philosophy is to hire good baseball people, hold them accountable,and stay out of their way. Sounds a lot like Bob McNair to me. Lets hope he doesn’t treat free agency like something that should be totally avoided.
Obviously, a lot more to come on this story as things unfold. MLB will need to call a special session to approve Crane before any actual changes can take place. But the papers are signed and delivered. Change is finally coming to Houston, and that almost has to be a positive considering where the Astros are right now.
The Astros are set to announce that Drayton McLane and Jim Crane have reached an agreement on the transfer of the team at a 2 PM CT press conference. But while there has been a lot made of Drayton’s legacy, there hasn’t been quite so much PR about the new overlord of the Houston Astros.
Zachary Levine has a huge piece up about Crane at The Chronicle. It goes heavy on the history and the quotes of Crane’s journey. I want to focus on some of the less flattering things said about Crane, not to muckrake, but because I don’t think a whole lot has been made of them yet:
The EEOC in 2000 accused EGL of attempting to avoid hiring blacks and women of child-bearing age, creating a hostile working environment for women, paying women and minority employees less than white males who did similar work, failing to investigate employees’ complaints of sexual harassment and destroying evidence that it was instructed to retain as part of the EEOC investigation. The agency sought $20 million from EGL to settle the case.
That’s uh, certainly not something to be glossed over here. David Coleman wrote about this issue possibly being a stumbling block. I don’t think it will be, if only because I don’t think MLB would’ve let the sale get this far if it was going to be an issue, but it should at least give some pause to rabid backers of the sale. Astros County has heard some similarly bad things:
This is what I fear with Jim Crane. We got a couple of emails over the weekend about Jim Crane that, if they’re true – and we’re working on it – are terrifying. We’ve been hearing the Right Things about Crane (as you would expect): he’s into data analysis, which presumably means that he wouldn’t sign off on trading five players for Miguel Tejada, he’s local(-ish), he’s a Baseball Man. And he just might fire Tal Smith. But what in the hell do you expect to hear in the first days of knowledge of the transfer of ownership?
It will be impossible to tell how good or how bad Crane will be as a baseball owner just yet. We can pull quotes from people who are with him, and we can look at his business record. Those things don’t have much bearing on how he’ll actually run the Astros. It’s clear that he has a great PR team in place already. I’m withholding judgement right now, as we just haven’t seen enough of him yet.
Admit it, you laughed when Drayton McLane put the Astros up for $800 million. I did, I can say that for sure. But when the final numbers come out, it looks likely that McLane will be only a short jaunt south of his reported initial asking price.
You see, while McLane will sell the Astros themselves for $680 million—a princely sum in it’s own right—he’ll sell his share of the new Regional Sports Network that the Astros are sharing with the Rockets for an additional $93 million. Combine the two, and McLane will come up just $27 million short of the original price. A huge win for both McLane and Steve Greenberg at Allen & Co.
At a time when the NFL and NBA owners are either already crying poor or preparing to do so, it’s a pretty nice injection of reality when a terrible team in a decent-but-not-great sports market is sold for $773 million. Or at least it should be. McLane definitely did well on his original investment, that much is for sure.
The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine is reporting that the sale of the Houston Astros to business owner Jim Crane is complete, pending MLB approval. The official proceedings could run through the end of summer, but there have been no indications in the media about hang-ups or potential issues that could disrupt the process.
The final price is said to be $680 million.
Soon to be former owner Drayton McLane says that finer points are of course being worked out by his lawyers and by Crane's representatives, but with a press conference being scheduled, it's clear that the broad strokes have been approved and it's just a matter of working out the details.
Drayton McLane Jr. purchased the Astros in 1993, and the team enjoyed some high times with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell running the show and the locker room. However, the team has since fallen on hard times after a series of terrible baseball decisions, disastrous front office and player personnel moves, awful free agent signings, and an inexplicable gutting of the minor league system that is still years from being repaired.
Not much is known about Jim Crane, but Astros fans will no doubt welcome the change with open arms and hopeful excitement.
Much more on this story as it develops all week.
Houston Astros owner (for the moment) Drayton McLane was present for a charity event at Minute Maid Park today. Guess what else he’s giving away? Well, I don’t think you can classify $680 million as a giveaway, but he confirmed that there is a deal in place to sell the Astros to Jim Crane. FOX 26’s Mark Berman had the scoop:
“We have an understanding and Jim’s an honorable person and I am too,” McLane said.
“We have an overall agreement, but things come up. “Lawyers draw up complicated contracts. So we got to get all those portions of it done.”
McLane believes the two sides could announce an agreement to begin the transfer of ownership to Crane by next week.
This, of course, falls into line with everything that has been coming out of the news about the Astros sale this week. But now you have it on the best authority you can: Jim Crane will be the next owner of the Houston Astros.
With all the legal documents being drawn up in anticipation of Drayton McLane’s sale to the Astros next week, some bits of the sale are understandably leaking out to the media. One of those is that the Astros are due to name ex-Rockets president and CEO George Postolos the new CEO of the club, per Mark Berman of FOX 26.
It hardly comes as a surprise, given the level of involvement Postolos was rumored to have had with the group. His experience and familiarity with the upcoming regional sports network that the Astros and Rockets are set to share likely had a lot of impact on being able to close the deal for Crane.
The sale will likely be completed next week, but wouldn’t become official until MLB owners vote on it, and they’d likely have to call a special session to do that. No word on when it will come, although I’m sure MLB will be happy for the cash infusion given the problems it’s had with the Mets and Dodgers lately and look to do it sooner rather than later.
McLane has been vague in his dealings when reached for comment, only saying that nothing would happen this week. However, more details of the deal are coming into the light. Crane’s group will have about eight or ten investors total, they will get a big share of the new regional sports network that the Astros are teaming up with the Rockets to create, and also will be liable for the lease payments on Minute Maid Park.
One underlooked aspect of the sale is the reported $680 million price that McLane will fetch. That’s more than the Rangers were sold for, and they’re a better team in a bigger market. That regional sports network contract must be a real doozy for Crane and company to pony up so much money for the Astros.
Here’s hoping he still has enough left over to bring some actual improvement to the ballclub, which as of this writing is the worst team in baseball by win percentage.
The sale of the Houston Astros to Houston businessman Jim Crane is apparently all but done. KTRK’s Bob Allen reports that all the major sticking points to the deal are completed and that only minor bits of the agreement need to be buffed out before it can be completed.
McLane originally asked for around $800 million for the Astros, but it looks like he will wind up getting about $680 million. Not too bad considering the economy and the state of the team at this point.
More to come as the deal is finalized. Obviously Crane will have his own ideas about how to run the club and we’ll see just how far that fallout goes off the bat. He may retain GM Ed Wade for the rest of the season or attempt to start housecleaning almost immediately. It would be very surprising if he got rid of the staff before the MLB Draft on June 15th, however.
Astros owner Drayton McLane doesn’t appear to be long for the baseball team. Last night, FOX 26’s Mark Berman reached McLane and learned that the sale of the team to Jim Crane will “hopefully” be completed within the next two weeks.
“We’re negotiating exclusively with Jim Crane now,” McLane said. "No signed contract.
“No money has been put up and hopefully that can get done in the next ten days to two weeks.”
“Jim would be a very good owner, a very responsible person, but he’s working on his financing and we’re negotiating the deal, so there’s more work to be done. So It’s premature to say anything has been concluded.”
Of course this isn’t a done deal yet, but it looks like every sign is pointing to Jim Crane being the next owner of the Houston Astros. The two week timetable may be a little aggressive for the official changing of the guard, but it would not be surprising at all to see this sale finalized by the All-Star break, as 1560’s John Perrotto originally speculated.
One of the big subplots stirring up over the potential sale of the Astros is the possibility of a change at General Manager. Ed Wade has done yeoman’s work since taking over the job, but he’s hardly shown the creative aptitude needed to make the Astros a winner again. He also brought the Astros ideas like Kaz Matsui, starting second baseman.
So it should come as no surprise that the hot stove for the sale is also burning with rumors about a possible new GM. Jim Crane is said to have his eye on the Rays’ Andrew Friedman, who ironically is the son of J. Kent Friedman, the other person named as a potential owner of the Astros. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated dug into the rumors in his latest column and gave Astros fans some reason for optimism:
The Rays’ Friedman told the St. Petersburg Times his father’s endeavor had "no bearing’’ on his efforts with the Rays. That surely is true for now, but if the elder Friedman gets the Astros, one would think he could have interest in hiring Andrew, one of the game’s better GMs, at some point. One of Andrew’s top lieutenants, Gerry Hunsicker, also was one of the Astors’ (sic) more successful GMs and is believed to have left because working for McLane wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
The St. Petersburg Times, in the column that Heyman references, points out that it’s not just J. Kent Friedman interested in bringing in Andrew:
There had already been speculation that Crane might try to hire Friedman, who like other top execs under Stuart Sternberg doesn’t have a contract.
It certainly would make sense that a new owner would clean house here in Houston, where the city has become disenchanted with the current group. It remains to be seen just how much validity there is to the hopes that Andrew Friedman will ride in and save the day, but it certainly does make plenty of sense on paper.
Per Mark Berkman of Fox 26, the Astros have a new group of investors chasing them. Houston attorney J. Kent Friedman has collected a group that wants to join Jim Crane in pursuing the purchase of the Houston Astros.
Friedman is the chairman of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, and his son, Andrew, is a pretty successful baseball general manager for the Tampa Bay Rays. Could he be lured if Friedman purchased the Astros? You’d have to think so.
Nevertheless, Drayton McLane’s sole focus right now is on selling the Astros to Crane, and he finally acknowledged that Crane has an exclusive negotiating window with the club right now
“Jim Crane is the only person we’re negotiating with now,” McLane said Monday.
In late March, McLane had said he was in discussions with “three or four” individuals or leaders of groups, and in January, there had been “20 or 25″ individuals put through the vetting process, but they have all funneled to one.
Crane, the founder of Crane Worldwide Logistics and CEO of Crane Capital, has been in negotiations for several weeks with McLane.
“We’ve been talking to Kenny Friedman a number of times,” McLane said of the prominent attorney who is in a sense McLane’s landlord as the Astros are in Year 12 of a 30-year lease from the Sports Authority. “They’ve never made a solid propsosal.”
Should be interesting to see how this all plays out. There were previous rumors that the Astros deal would be done by the All-Star Break. If that’s true, it seems likely that Crane will be the one buying the team. The Astros are currently floundering at 11-17, dead last in the NL Central. .
Per 1560 The Game’s John Granato, who had to have this dictated to the interwebs by Lance Zierlein, Astros owner Drayton McLane will complete the sale of the Astros this year, and likely have it done by the All-Star Break.
McLane has been rumored to be close to completing a sale with Houston businessman Jim Crane, who was rebuffed by Drayton at one point. This time around, McLane is letting Allen and Company, led by Steve Greenberg, handle the sale.
The Astros have continually gained value despite the decay of the on-field product over the past five seasons. McLane was instrumental in their good years, but has been perceived as a meddler who ran former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker out of town. The Astros will also form their own sports network with the Rockets and Comcast in the near future, further boosting the value of the team.
So while the new owner will have some pretty nice footholds economically, he’ll still have a lot of work to do with the on-field product. The Astros don’t have many good young players just yet, though the lower minor league levels do hold some promise.
Per Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, the Houston Astros do have interest in Blue Jays righthander David Purcey, who was designated for assignment earlier this week. Purcey posted a 3.71 ERA last year for the Jays in 34 innings, with a 2.13 SO/BB ratio. However, he has been hit early and often this year, and that 3.71 ERA represents the best season of his career. Purcey does work with 90+ MPH heat though, so he's obviously got teams interested in him for a reason.
If the Astros managed to pick Purcey up, the roster spot that may be up for grabs could be Rule V pick Aneury Rodriguez's spot. Rodriguez was recently suspended three games for hitting a batter, and he's sporting a sterling 13.5 ERA in five appearances so far. Fernando Abad may also be a candidate to go, although I doubt the Astros would get rid of the only lefty reliever they have on the roster now since they don't see him as much of a specialist. Stop me if you're surprised by this news; Ed Wade interested in a new reliever, film at eleven.
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