Major League Baseball reportedly told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League.
Approval of the sale could be announced as early as today. Crane reportedly agreed in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million.
A report said Crane would receive a $70 million discount for moving the Astros to the AL. The report said Astros owner Drayton McLane and MLB would split the cost.
With schedules for next season already set, the earliest such a move could take place is 2013.
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Commissioner Bud Selig addressed a move by the Astros during a Twitter chat.
“For 15/15 realignment, Houston would be the team moving to AL West. Would create more fairness in baseball,” Selig tweeted via the Colorado Rockies Twitter feed. He also added that “15 teams in each league would necessitate interleague play every day but it will be better schedule overall.”
The Astros are in the six-team NL Central. The AL West is the only division in the majors with four teams (Rangers, Angels, Athletics and Mariners). The Astros would be in a division with in-state rival Texas.
Arizona’s Kirk Gibson and Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon were named managers of the year for the National and American leagues, respectively.
Gibson was a clear choice for guiding the Diamondbacks to a runaway NL West title in his first full season as a big league manager.
“I certainly had a vision,” Gibson said, adding, “It’s certainly not all because of me.”
Maddon won the AL award for the second time. He was an easy pick after helping the Rays overcame a nine-game deficit to beat out Boston for the wild-card spot on the last day.
“I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays’ way of doing things,” Maddon said.
Gibson drew 28 of the 32 first-place votes and got 152 points. Ron Roenicke of the NL Central champion Brewers was second with three first-place votes and 92 points. Tony La Russa of the Cardinals was third.
Maddon drew 26 of 28 first-place votes and had 133 points. Jim Leyland of the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers got the other pair of first-place votes and 54 points. Ron Washington of the AL champion Rangers was third with 31.
Infielder Jamey Carroll signed a two-year contract with the Twins worth at least $6.5 million. … Hitting coach Mark McGwire and pitching coach Dave Duncan were retained by new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. First base coach Dave McKay and bench coach Joe Pettini were assigned to other jobs in the organization, with assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete, a first base coach for the Mariners in 2004, replacing Pettini and Triple-A manager Chris Maloney replacing McKay.