Other bidders are sniffing around the Rangers

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Danial Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that two bidders — Dallas businessman Jeff Beck and Houston businessman Jim Crane — have been in touch with the Rangers’ creditors recently. Both Beck and Crane have a history with the Rangers sale, with Beck being the primary financing source behind agent Dennis Gilbert’s failed bid, and Crane participating in the first round himself.

The team is not up for bids now — such a thing wouldn’t happen unless the bankruptcy plan fails to be approved next month — but they are obviously keeping tabs on things.  My guess, given Kaplan’s apparent close connection to the team’s creditors: the creditors are trying to portray Crane and Beck as viable and eager alternatives that the
creditors can cite as they enter into final negotiations with the
Rangers over the bankruptcy plan.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t doubt that Beck and Crane are keeping tabs on everything and will be prepared to pounce if and when they have the opportunity. But it’s really premature for either of them to actually be making overtures at this point . Right now the path, however rocky it appears, is laid out for Greenberg to still take control. If Crane and Beck were to truly insert themselves in the process, the bankruptcy court would likely be very unhappy and things would simply get mucked up.

So if I had to guess: much ado about nothing.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.