As Drayton McLane spends his last night as the Astros owner, the new man in charge, Jim Crane, will have a handful of questions to answer very shortly. One question that will surely be asked will be what he will do with the discount received for moving the Astros to the AL? The total amount that Crane will be discounted varies depending on which reporter you ask but one number that seems to be constant between all of them is 35 million that MLB will be refunding to Jim. So what should our new Astros owner do with that rather large amount of change?
The fiscally responsible choice would be to apply this amount to the debt that it took to purchase the Astros, reportedly 300 million. That, however, is boring and too predictable, the point is to get creative yet realistic. Crane won’t be spending on high priced free agents, and shouldn’t, as the club is still to far off to justify spending the money that signing Pujols, Reyes or Fielder would take. He could use a portion to re-sign Clint Barmes or bring back an old friend like Brad Lidge as both make sense and wouldn’t break the bank.
Another option would be to use that money to possibly make a certain person disappear, specifically, Carlos Lee. Realistically, Carlos Lee is the best hitter on the club and looks to be that again during his last season with the Astros. But Lee also represents everything that has gone wrong with this franchise since Andy and Roger left. Carlos seems like a fantastic guy and has essentially done what he was brought here to do, minus 2010, but he was never going to live up to his contract. He has handcuffed the organization for quite a while and ending the relationship now would represent some closure to one of the Astros’ darkest periods. While it makes zero baseball sense, it might be the perfect way to give the fans a small welcoming gift.
By this time tomorrow evening, the Astros would have begun a new voyage into the unknown and these types of questions will begin to be asked with regularity. Throw in the move to the AL and Houston Astros fans will truly be going into uncharted waters that only a few have traveled. So, if you found 35 million in your sofa, how would you use that money to help the Astros?