The Astros may be sold soon

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Back in November, Astros owner Drayton McLane said that he was going to sell the Astros. On Friday he told MLB.com that he has made “substantial inroads” toward selling the team, with one of the three possible suitors being a familiar name: Houston businessman Jim Crane.

You may recall that Crane — along with Mark Cuban — came very close to snatching the Rangers away from Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan last summer.  As such, the first question that springs to mind in hearing Crane’s name mentioned is whether Cuban is also involved.  There have been no reports to that effect since this report surfaced on Friday, however. And it is worth noting that Crane has not required Cuban’s capital to get involved in bidding on sports teams before. Indeed, Crane came very close to buying the Astros when McLane was shopping the team following the 2008 season, but that deal fell through for nebulous reasons.

No one is sure who the other two ownership candidates McLane mentioned are. But Crane is local and that sort of thing usually sits well the types who can help or hinder deals like this. Given that his name has spilled out — and given that in-depth profiles are already being written about him in the local press — you kinda have to figure that he’s the front runner, no?

And yes, I know that this isn’t the current Astros logo, but I like it much, much better. Crane or whoever next owns the Astros can’t bring it back as such — they no longer play in the dome after all — but the orange and blue should come back, as should the caps with the “H” in the middle of the star. Because those things are Right and True.

Brad Ausmus seems to know he’s a dead man walking

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The Tigers have been terrible and the embarked on a rebuild this summer, shipping off Justin Verlander and multiple other players. Miguel Cabrera is hurt and may never be his old MVP-level self. It is, without a doubt, that the Tigers and their fans are about to begin a new chapter in the franchise’s history.

Such new chapters usually involve new managers. Fourth-year manager Brad Ausmus is still at the helm and the Tigers have made no public statement about his future. Ausmus, however, is a lame duck, with his contract ending a week from Sunday. He is also no fool. He seems to know very well that he’s not going to be around next year. From Katie Strang of The Athletic:

Ausmus, of course, has been on the hot seat several times. When Detroit exercised his option for this year, their refusal to extend it sent a pretty clear signal.

If this is the end of the road in Detroit for Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager, it will end with him having missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm of a star-studded team that was expected to Win Now, as they say. Yes, there were a lot of issues with the Tigers — their bullpen has always been a problem and the brass made a lot of questionable choices in signings and trades over the past few years — but there is no escaping the fact that Ausmus’ Tigers under achieved.

Marco Estrada signs a one-year, $13 million deal for 2018

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Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Blue Jays, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Last night Morosi reported that the sides were near a deal.

This extension is, functionally, like adding a year on to his old deal, which paid him $26 million for the 2016-17 seasons. As Bill noted last night. while the 34-year-old right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176.2 innings this year and has improved in the second half.