Astros’ sale on the agenda for MLB owners’ meeting next week

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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.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons, willing the Manager of the Year Award in 2015. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however and, after an offseason that neither helped the Rangers rebuild OR reload, this season the descent has continued.

Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a full rebuild is in the club’s future. Even if that was not the case, however, recently there have been some reports about Banister having trouble communicating with his players, suggesting that, perhaps, the Rangers would move on from him even if the results on the field had been better.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.