There's a new group in the running for the Rangers

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Well, an old-new group, as Houston businessman Jim Crane had previously been mulling an offer before dropping out a month ago.  Now he’s back, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.  That makes three in the bidding: Crane, Pittsburgh sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Beverly Hills insurance man, former agent, and alleged inventor of free agency, Dennis Gilbert.

It’s been reported that Nolan Ryan will bail as team President if Gilbert buys, and that he’ll stay if Greenberg buys, because Ryan is attached to Greenberg’s bid. No word on what happens with Crane. 

Ultimately, however, that won’t be a factor in the bidding, of course. As Sullivan reports “economics will drive this deal.” More specifically, cash, as the seller — Hicks Sports Group — is in desperate need of it, and will likely accept the bid from whoever is able to get it done as quickly as possible.

A decision on which group gets an exclusive negotiating window with Hicks is supposed to come on Tuesday. Of course, the Cubs were supposed to be sold in a fairly quick time frame too and that took three years.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.