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Jim Crane will get $50 million price break to move Astros to AL

Nov 14, 2011, 4:48 PM EDT

Drayton McLane, Jim Crane AP

Last month potential Astros owner Jim Crane was said to want a $50 million discount in exchange for agreeing to move the team to the American League and now Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that MLB has agreed to the price break.

According to Heyman the Astros will move to the AL in 2013, and while nothing is official yet they’d be joining the AL West. Assuming, of course, that the other 29 owners vote Crane in.

$50 million would represent about seven percent of the estimated $680 million price tag and in switching leagues the Astros would also get a whole bunch of games against a ready made rival in the Rangers.

Lance Berkman won’t be happy, though.

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the discount will be closer to $80 million.

  1. clydeserra - Nov 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    That seems like a lot. More games against the Rangers, Yankees and red sox, less games against the Card, and cubs.

    I think Mr. Crane is making out like a bandit.

  2. mvp43 - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    As much as I hate to see them leave, it makes the most sense. I know many have stated that it should be the Brewers that leave, but I disagree. Even though the Brewers are historically an AL team, they’ve been in the NL for 15 years and have a great rivalry with both the Cubs & the Cards. Each one of those teams sell out every game and are competive (okay, the Cubs will be). The Astros on the other hand don’t have any real rivals……..now they do with Texas. Rivalry is good business!

    • 78mu - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM

      During the Bagwell, Biggio and Berkman years the Astros had a great rivalry with the Cardinals. And during those same years the Brewers were everyone’s favorite opponent for homecoming since they were an easy win. Teams change so it is unlikely the Astros will be bad for the next 100 years (sorry Cubs fans).

      So the Brewers have been in the NL for 15 years. The Astros have been in the NL for 50 years. As I get out my supercomputer and input the data, the answer is…………50 is longer than 15.

      While the Brewers have been in the NL for 15 yearrs, they were in the AL for more than 25 years. So other than the 50 million (which won’t go the fans) it’s hard to see why the Brewers stay and the Astros go.

      • hcf95688 - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:55 PM

        …and before the Pilots became the Brewers, the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta. That city has a deep association with the National League.

  3. gallaghedj311 - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Good for everyone except berkman. And I don’t care about him anyway.

  4. crankyfrankie - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    I think this guy could be the next McCourt. The fact that he is asking for price reductions give me cause for concern. Additionally the idea of 15 and 15 might look good on paper but combined with the additional playoff team is another step in the NFLisation of MLB.

    • danielcp0303 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:33 AM

      The fact that he’s asking for a price reduction makes him the opposite of McCourt. Why wouldn’t a guy wanna pay 600 million rather than 680 million? That’s a full season of payroll and then some. All the other owners have to do is make sure he isn’t buying this team mostly with debt. If he is paying with some debt, 80 million dollars off the top sure does help to pay it.

    • cavredleg15 - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:15 AM

      What is wrong with a further expansion? Keep the current playoff system. Expand by 2 teams. 32 team league. Division Champions to the playoffs. No more wild card. Each division champion gets to the playoffs. 1-4/2-3. Eight Teams still make the post season.

      • paperlions - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:46 AM

        Gee, I don’t know…maybe the fact that multiple extant teams are unhappy with their facilities and that the economy has finally made local politicians start to stand up to their extortion attempts rather than throw 100s of millions of dollars at billionaires to house they expensive toys?

        Or that with the current financial structure of MLB, about 1/2 the teams can not compete for top FAs or can not sign more than 1 of them without severely handicapping their ability to field a competitive roster…resulting in them trading those players off mid-contract?

        Or that fact that expansion teams have a hard time competing financially because they have no traditional fan base, and after that new team smell wears off they typically suffer an extended down period of fan support.

  5. dmccarrie - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I honestly don’t understand why the Brewers don’t move to back to the AL and leave the Astros alone. I mean, I understand “WHY” …Ahem, Looking at you Bud.

    It’s kinda silly to take away the Astros from the NL when there are plenty of other NL teams that could move without as much of a whimper….Arizona and Florida.

    • clydeserra - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      AL has a higher income potential because of the huge national following of the yankees and red sox.

      I am not sure what your point is. There is a great natural rivalry between the Cubs and Brewers and Rangers Astros.

      Sure we could point to reasons for the status quo or the Brewers moving back, but, why? “Thou shalt have Houston in the NL” is not one of the 10 commandments.

  6. hushbrother - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Someoy explain to me why being in the AL would make the Astros less

    • kellyb9 - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      I don’t believe its that the AL will make the Astros a less valuable franchise. There are bunch of factors which would make a change between leagues undesireable. First, the DH.. one more power hitter you need to throw a whole barrel full of money at. Second, they are built to play national league teams… they know those teams tendencies, players, etc. Third, they are getting money to switch… because they can, and its a good move on their part to squeeze as much out of MLB as possible.

  7. hushbrother - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Someone explain to me why being in the AL would make the Astros less valuable.

    I would think getting out of a six-team division and the subsequent increase in probability of reaching the playoffs would ADD value to the team.

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      Plus adding the DH to their anemic offence would give them some needed oomph. Astros got a tradition of loosing in the NL. Why do they want to keep it?

      • hcf95688 - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:57 PM

        I’m in favor of the move. If for no other reason than just to hear the dozen or so Astros fans that care (or have a reliable internet hook up) whine about changing leagues.

      • clydeserra - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:34 PM

        Carlos lee would move from a liability in the field to a liability as a DH

      • cur68 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:18 AM

        For the purposes of my amusement I look forward to Carlos Lee as a liability DH.

    • jwbiii - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:41 AM

      hushbrother: TV ratings. By moving to the AL West, they will play a lot of games in the Pacific Time Zone in the 9pm – 12m time slot. These draw lower ratings than games in the 7pm – 10pm time slot. The Rangers have been complaining about this for years; they are probably very happy to have another Central Time Zone team, as well as an in-state rival, in their division.

  8. cctwinsfan - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    I love it as at least they will play the Twins every year so I can see Twins games live! Twins haven’t been in Houston since 2006 (went to all three games) so this will be great!

  9. spudchukar - Nov 15, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Give me 80 mil, and I would move to the South Pole.

    • paperlions - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      There isn’t anything to buy at the South Pole, and burning that money won’t keep you warm for long….good luck. :-)

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