Jim Crane Emerges as Front Runner in Houston Astros Purchase


Houston businessman Jim Crane is rumored to be interested in purchasing the Houston Astros again. You may remember that news broke last year that Jim Crane and Drayton Mclane had a handshake deal in place before Crane backed out of the deal citing concerns with the economy as his primary reason. Crane also assembled a team of investors including Mark Cuban last year to purchase the Texas Rangers only to be outbid by Nolan Ryan’s investment group. As far as to the seriousness of this latest sale rumor, it has ranged from being all but done to just being in the beginning stages of the process. The biggest question that no one is able to answer at this time is what kind of owner Jim Crane would be.

Richard Justice reported yesterday that Jim Crane was a former college pitcher for the University of Central Missouri, so unlike Drayton Mclane, Jim Crane would possess a much greater knowledge base for the game as an owner. While baseball knowledge is not a prerequisite for ownership, it would certainly be comforting considering how much Drayton Mclane had his hands in baseball operations with little knowledge of how the business world of baseball operated.

One concern that comes to mind is that since Mark Cuban was part of an investment group led by Crane last year to purchase the Rangers, would Mark Cuban be involved in this purchase of the Astros. His name has not been mentioned at all since the news broke yesterday, but the fact that the connection between Cuban and Crane has been made in the past is enough to make you wonder. While some people would view Mark Cuban’s involvement as a plus, I think that he would bring unnecessary attention to the club, and also possesses little knowledge about the game of baseball. He would also bring the potential for the payroll situation to get out of hand. I would hate to see the Astros turn into major players in the free agent market similar to the Yankees and Red Sox, and would much rather see the franchise continue rebuilding the correct way. I will end this statement by once again emphasizing that Mark Cuban has not been rumored to be part of the Astros purchase at all thus far.

While the majority of major league clubs are owned by a group of investors these days, Jim Crane is rumored to be interested in purchasing the Astros himself. Depending on the type of owner Jim Crane could potentially be, this could be viewed as a positive or a negative. Investment banker Steve Greenberg, who Mclane sought out to assist with the sale of the team, has stated that this deal could be done in a matter of weeks instead of months. While this seems unlikely, it also seemed unlikely that Drayton would re-enter conversations with Crane after he backed out of a prior deal already. This will be an interesting story to follow as the season progresses, and we will keep you posted with any updates on the story.