Jim Crane tells his side of the story

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Jim Crane, the owner-in-waiting of the Houston Astros is fed up. He’s fed up with waiting for MLB approval and he’s really fed up with the talk about why that approval is being held up.  You would too if it reminded people of past allegations of war profiteering, discrimination claims and details about a custody battle you had 11 years ago playing out in public.

His side of the story — in pretty great detail — can be read in an interview he gave to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle yesterday.

I’ll say that I have a bit of sympathy for the guy. I have a sense that the problems his bid is alleged to have are something of a moving target. Some days it’s the money, some days it’s the past. No one seems willing to go on record about it. All of this stuff had to have been known by those inside the game years ago, as Crane has been a potential owner for a long time.  And of course, no one at Major League Baseball seems to be in a hurry to do anything with the bid itself.

Hard to say if this helps him or hurts him. On the one hand, it’s probably good that he’s willing to talk frankly about the stuff swirling around him.  On the other hand: when was the last time MLB and Bud Selig took kindly to someone making their case in the press?

Report: Giants showed some interest in Phillies’ Maikel Franco at Winter Meetings

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.

Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.

Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.

Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.