Jim Crane is the sole bidder for the Astros

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Last we heard of Drayton McLane’s efforts to sell the Astros, he was speaking to three potential bidders. The only one whose identity we knew was Jim Crane, the Houston businessman who (a) at one time a couple of years ago tried to buy the Astros; and (b) last year almost landed the Rangers in a partner-up deal with Mark Cuban. Now, however, there is a sole bidder and it’s just Crane. Zach Levine reports.

It’s been a while since we had a quick, seamless and drama-free transfer of ownership. But it looks like we’re going to get it here.

Note to Jim: If you take over, go back to emphasizing orange and blue. Maybe even using the logo to the right, with Minute Maid Park’s picture replacing the dome. And even if you don’t go that far, at least give them back the caps with the capital H superimposed over the star.  Classics never go out of style, man.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.