Prospective Astros owner Jim Crane and his group of investors have reached an agreement with Major League Baseball that would shift the franchise to the American League, two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday.
One person familiar with the situation said the transfer of the team from Drayton McLane to Crane is on the agenda at next week’s owners meetings in Milwaukee, but negotiations over the final details likely will continue until then. The Associated Press, citing two people who spoke on condition of anonymity, also reports the sale is on the owners’ agenda and that part of the sale agreement would involve the Astros moving to the AL effective in 2013.
The AL agreement would appear to be the final hurdle for Crane to close a deal he and McLane announced May 16. The Chronicle reported Nov. 4 that the $680 million purchase appeared to be headed for approval Thursday, with the AL negotiations being one of the final sticking points. The Astros have been in the National League since 1962 and the Central Division since 1994.
Spokespersons for Crane and MLB declined comment.
“If it’s on the agenda, then the deal is done,” one person with knowledge of the situation said.
“They usually don’t get this far unless it’s something that’s going to be acted on,” another person with knowledge of the situation said.
Assuming no further delays, it ought to be made official this week. I still don’t understand why anyone wants to have an odd number of teams in each league, and I don’t understand why I haven’t seen more about how this will drastically affect scheduling. I guess we’ll know more soon.