Mark Cuban and Jim Crane may team up to bid on the Rangers

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Many have suggested that Mark Cuban and Houston Businessman Jim Crane are not wanted by Major League Baseball (note: his name has been legally changed to “Houston Businessman Jim Crane.” I’m totally not effing with you here). But maybe in baseball as in nature, two negatives make a positive:

Mavericks  owner Mark Cuban  could make a joint bid for the Rangers with Houston investor Jim Crane to counter Nolan Ryan’s group at Wednesday’s auction, the latest twist in the ballclub’s bankruptcy drama.

“We’re exploring working with Crane,” Cuban’s staff attorney, Dan Jauchen, said Monday after the court-appointed chief restructuring officer disclosed the development. Jauchen then zipped his mouth, refusing even to confirm his own name – supplied later by another Cuban lawyer.

It says a lot about the nearly year-long Rangers’ odyssey that a well-paid lawyer everyone knows zipping his lip and refusing to confirm his own name is not the silliest thing that has happened.  I totally expect tomorrow’s auction to end with Chuck Greenberg taking himself hostage like Clevon Little in “Blazing Saddles,” telling everyone “don’t move or the lawyer/mogul gets it!”

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves