After about six months on the market, McLane got close to his asking price for the Houston Astros and three years after Jim Crane made his first offer, he has his professional baseball team. Even though it seems to have been common knowledge for a few days now, Drayton McLane announced today that he would be selling the Houston Astros to local businessman, Jim Crane. Now even though a deal is in place it is not official, as this deal needs to be approved by Major League Baseball and that is not always a guarantee.
Jim Crane over the past three years has tried to buy the Astros, was in the running to purchase the Cubs in 2009 and the Rangers last season. It finally looks like he will get the team he wanted all along and all indications are that he will be very proactive owner. A former high school teammate of Jim Crane was quoted in a the Houston Chronicle saying “He will be a Jerry Jones owner.” Hopefully he meant the early 1990s Jerry Jones, when the Cowboys were winning championships, and not the 2000 Jerry Jones when Quincy Carter was the starting QB.
Even Drayton McLane has to be happy with the sale today as he got close to his asking price of $800 million dollars. It was reported over the weekend that McLane will walk away with $773 million dollars, which is not bad on an investment of $117 million, 18 years ago. This total includes $93 million that McLane will receive from the Comcast TV deal that will start broadcasting Astros’ games in 2013.
As much as Drayton has been the target of criticism the past few years, I believe he always tried to put a quality product on the field for the fans. The Astros have one of the best records over the past 18 years, one their first National League Championship, and went to their first World Series. I think McLane backed off signing free agents after the 2006 free agent period debacle that included the $100 million dollar contract to Carlos Lee, along with the $12 million dollars to Woody Williams.
All in all, this a good deal for all parties involved. Jim Crane gets his MLB team, Astros’ fans get an owner who is willing to do everything in his power to win a championship, and Drayton McLane gets a fat check.