The Astros have, it appears, finally been sold. At least that's what Drayton McLane has told Mark Berman over at Fox 26. The papers are still being finalized, though it is hoped that the parties will sign off on the sale next week. McLane was not willing to divulge the purchase price, though it is rumored to be in the $650 million-plus range, which is well above what the Texas Rangers sold for in bankruptcy court last season.
It's also been reported over the past several days that, with his purchase, Jim Crane will be installing George Postolos as CEO of the Astros. If that names sound familiar, it's because Postolos once held a similar position with the Houston Rockets. It also seems that, with Postolos coming on board, Ed Wade, Tal Smith and Pam Gardner should probably be packing up their offices as Gardner pretty much does Postolos's job, and while with the Rockets, Postolos's ideas seemed to mesh more with a Moneyball approach than with what Wade and Smith seem to have been doing.
The deal is still subject to the approval of the rest of MLB's owners, and with all of the problems being experienced by Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers at the moment, problems which have seen MLB assume control of the franchise, it's possible that that formal approval might take awhile as MLB takes its time to closely and carefully review all of Jim Crane's financials.
Some other hold-ups to a slam-dunk MLB approval will be problems that Crane and his various business ventures have had with various ethnic groups and with women. Problems which have led Crane to pay some rather large fines to the EEOC because of his warning his managers not to hire women of childbearing age and that blacks shouldn't be hired because once they were hired they could never be fired.
Crane also went through a rather contentious divorce last decade, and with the problems MLB has experienced with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres that have arisen from very contentious divorces, the current owners might be a bit careful about letting him join the club. (The Dodgers' current problems are the result of what appear to be some shady business dealings of Frank McCourt and the rather nasty divorce he's undergoing right night that have McCourt and his wife both fighting for control of the franchise that MLB is now running.)
But frankly, for now, I don't care about all of that -- though, seeing as how former Astros beat writer Jesus Ortiz used to allege racism against McLane at the drop of a hat, it would probably be fun to see how he would handle Crane. What I care most about is seeing the Astros become a well-run club. It would be nice if the rumors out there about Gerry Hunsicker and Andrew Friedman coming over from Tampa Bay to run the baseball side were true. But for now, they're nothing more than rumors, so we're still stuck with the Ed and Tal show, and that's a show that hasn't really done much of anything for several seasons.
The only safe people, besides Carlos Lee and his ridiculous contract, appear to be manager Brad Mills and his staff because it's just impossible to really grade how good a manager he is when he's been forced to put Lee in LF every night, and when the best of his other options have included the likes of Bill Hall, Kaz Matsui, Pedro Feliz and Nelson Figueroa.
And Jim, while you're cleaning house, could you please do something about the uniforms? You don't have to go back to the old rainbows, but consider going back to the team's original colors and maybe go back to the old shooting star unis as I always liked those.
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