Thursday, October 20, 2011

The cost of switching leagues? $50m (allegedly)

The New York Post says that Jim Crane is asking for a $50m purchase price reduction as compensation for an Astros move to the American League.

On that front, the two sides are in the “ballpark” on the price, although a deal is far from certain, sources said...

...One source close to the talks said there is a “65 to 70 percent chance” that Selig and Crane will reach a deal. If not, Crane will likely walk away from buying the Astros. MLB and Crane spokesmen declined comment.

A few things to note about this:

1. Who gets the $50m? Crane, or Drayton? Not that it matters to us, as fans, but will Crane "pay" $680m to Drayton, and then Selig gives Crane $50m? Or will Crane just have to pay $630m?

2. I guess the Astros get $1m per year in the National League. That's the price of tradition.

3. For the right price, MLB and Selig are willing to overlook Crane's history (which may be perfectly explainable, and Crane may have explained it to Selig perfectly), as long as everyone gets what they want: For MLB, it's two 15-team leagues and an inflated purchase price for 29 other teams. For Crane, he gets his team - albeit in a very different situation than what he thought. No matter, though.

4. $50m doesn't seem like an awful lot of money. It's basically the Astros' payroll, minus Carlos Lee. As much as one can blow off the value of $50m, that's what I'm doing. I don't know if supplementary draft picks could have been part of the deal, but an effort to make the team better as a condition of the deal would have left me feeling less like this whole kabuki was just a negotiation between a high-priced hooker and a john in a Bentley.