Update: Astros sale could be completed by next week

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UPDATE:  Zachary Levine reports that the sale of the Astros could be completed by next week. If so, ownership of the Astros could be transferred as early as July.

Tuesday: 5:07 PM:  Drayton McLane has commented on this morning’s report that he and Jim Crane have all but completed a deal to sell the Astros:

“I haven’t signed anything, Jim Crane and his group hasn’t signed anything and Major League Baseball hasn’t signed anything. We’re still negotiating, so there’s nothing to report.”

I guess I’d just note that saying “I haven’t signed anything” is not exactly a refutation of a report that you’re on the verge of signing anything.  In fact, they’re wholly consistent. But hey, they’ll tell us when they have a deal done.

Tuesday: 10:30 AM: Last week we learned that Jim Crane was the sole remaining bidder for the Houston Astros. This morning KTRK TV in Houston is reporting that the sale of the Houston Astros to Crane is all but a done deal. All that’s left according to KTRK: “the dotting of I’s and crossing of T’s.”  Gosh, I hope they’re not dotting capital I’s like that, because that would be improper.

The reported sale price is $680 million.  Drayton McLane purchased the team in late 1992 for $117 million in 1993. So, hey, not bad.

Given baseball’s recent history with turbulent transactions fraught with high drama and litigation, analysis of what appears to be a straightforward sale is, relatively speaking, like trying to expound upon a man tying his shoes and then walking on, so all I’ll say is “congratulations Drayton and Jim.”

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

Associated Press
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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.