Friday, March 25, 2011

Drayton "close" to selling team

And now the Chronicle steps up with a shiny new article saying Drayton is "close" to selling the team to Jim Crane (according to a High Ranking Baseball Official).

Then this:
Another former major league official, who'd hoped to put together his own group, characterized the transaction another way.

“I'm hearing it's a done deal,“ he said.

One notable, uh, note said that the final amount "definitely would exceed" what the Rangers went for when they were on baseball's meat market.

UPDATE: The linked article has been updated with a quote from Drayton:
“There's not a deal. We're not farther along with Jim than with anyone else. Whoever the person ends up being has to be qualified by MLB. No price has been agreed on, and we've got to make sure they've got the money.


Anonymous said...

This news seems bizarre on several levels:

First, why would McLane retain Steve Greenberg (and pay his company a healthy fee) if Jim Crane was simply a phone call away and was still seen by McLane as viable buyer?

Second, after four months of no news at all about the sale, for this to come out two days after Forbes released their annual team valuations makes this seem a little like a p.r. move.

Third, most bizarre of all, just _two_ days ago, Richard Justice claimed there were no serious bidders (or groups of bidders) for the Astros. But now, today, only minutes after the Mark Berman report went online, Justice was online with an article one-upping Berman's piece by claiming "insiders" told him Crane is a "done deal"? Are we really supposed to believe that, two days ago, Justice didn't even know Crane was in the picture, but now Justice has sources in the inner circle? I hate to question someone's integrity, but the Justice info. and sourcing today seems very, very suspect.

These are my initial thoughts. I'm curious to see what others have to say about all of this.

Anonymous said...

Now some of the stories have been updated with additional quotes. The Chronicle piece quotes Greenberg as saying he expects a deal to be reached "within weeks rather than months," while McLane is being quoted as saying it's a "long and wide-open process." Who to believe, the owner or the salesman?

Astros County said...

All great points from Anonymous, and certainly worth keeping in mind when examining this story. Seems like someone talked who wasn't supposed to, and now everyone's trying to minimize...

Anonymous said...

@Astros County - That's the funny thing about all of this: Unless I've missed something, all of yesterday's news started with Drayton McLane himself, with his comments to Mark Berman confirming that Jim Crane was in the mix.

Just last month, McLane was telling anyone within earshot that "nothing was imminent," and he used the same phrase yesterday. But then, essentially simultaneous to all of McLane's comments yesterday, the (usually) press-shy Steve Greenberg was all over the place all but confirming Crane will be the buyer.

I wonder if this is one of those situations in which the salesman (Greenberg) is trying to pressure the seller (McLane). McLane seems like he's in no hurry and wants to wait for maximum payment, while Greenberg might smell a deal (and commission) with Jim Crane and is trying to leverage McLane publicly.

Who knows, maybe I'm overanalyzing this. But for people who follow the sales of MLB teams, yesterday's combination of Jim Crane plus a very public Steve Greenberg was almost shocking. I just wish we had better reporters fleshing things out than Richard Justice. Richard changes his position more often than I change my socks (which is often).

My personal opinion is that Steve Greenberg probably wants this Astros sale off his desk ASAP so that it doesn't interfere with his possible handling of the possible Dodgers sale and/or the possible controlling sale of the Mets (in addition to the minority sale of the Mets that Greenberg is already handling). Greenberg is known for getting top dolalr for MLB teams very quickly, but the state of the Astros combined with the possible availability of the Dodgers and/or Mets probably is making Greenberg's job a lot more difficult.