We’ve heard rumors of this before, but it seems like it’s really happening this time.
According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the proposed sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane is on the agenda for the MLB owners’ meetings next week in Milwaukee. The vote is expected to take place Thursday.
Blum was told by two sources that McLane, Crane and MLB “have reached an understanding” that would shift the franchise to the American League, beginning in 2013. The Astros would join the American League West, clearing the way for two 15-team leagues. Under these changes, it’s expected that we would have interleague play on a daily basis and two additional Wild Card teams.
Crane reached a deal with McLane in May to buy the team for $680 million, but Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that he could get a discount of up to $80 million as incentive to agree to move the franchise to the American League.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.