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Articles Tagged Jim Crane 

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February 11, 2013 11:16 am

Bizball: Are the Astros Really Losing Money?

11

Maury Brown

Jim Crane may have been telling the truth...but not the whole truth.

Depending on what you read, clubs in Major League Baseball are either making a massive profit, breaking even, or, if you listen to the owners, often running in the red. Since baseball is a private industry, trying to determine the truth is a matter of educated guessing, wild hyperbole, or a case of “no comment” coming from the league and clubs.

So when an owner talks about the financial status of the club he runs, it prompts a fair amount of discussion. As we’ve seen with the leaked financial documents from the likes of the Marlins and others, the truth typically is on the side of ownership not only making a profit, but a handsome one at that.

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A look at Houston's decision to use television money to pay down debts instead of putting it toward player payroll.

Back in August, I asked, How Low Can Jim Crane Go?—a reference to Houston’s player payroll. In the article, I tracked how the club has been dramatically cutting player payroll in recent months. Since then, there has been more cutting, a continued emphasis on player development (congrats to our BP colleagues Mike Fast on going to Houston and Kevin Goldstein joining him as Pro Scouting Coordinator), and increased revenues that will be available via Comcast SportsNet Houston. The team (along with the Houston Rockets) will own just over 77 percent of the network and will receive an annual $26.28 million raise, beginning in 2014, on the $23.72 million they  currently receive as part of the league’s national television contract.

The Astros are approaching the end of their second consecutive 100-loss season, and a move into the AL West next season (where the bar for spending has been set high by the Rangers and Angels) means continued losing is likely for the foreseeable future. Since that article of mine in late August, a number of sources close to the club have said that there are have been grumblings within the organization regarding how the increased television revenues will be used.

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A look at Houston's rebuilding plan following their sale this past winter.

There was a time not too long ago when folks were leveraging themselves to the eye sockets in order to purchase goodies—big, expensive goodies such as homes and cars. In fact, many got in over their head and had these expensive, leveraged purchases repossessed, while others simply are straddled with mountains of debt.

Coming up on the end of the first season of owning the Houston Astros, Jim Crane seems to fit in with the latter group. He hasn’t done anything horribly wrong other than to strip the team down to the axels.

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June 7, 2012 5:00 am

On the Beat: Astros Find New Orbit

5

John Perrotto

The Astros have performed above expectations so far and are not concerned about moving to the AL West in 2013, and a conversation with Gio Gonzalez.

So much about the Astros is new. In their case, new is good.

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The first part of a roundtable discussion about how teams in the NL Central will fare in the 2012 season.

PECOTA Team Projections
​Record: 74-88
Team WARP: 20.2
Team TAv: .253
Runs Scored: 685
Runs Allowed: 756
Team FRAA: 1.1







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The firing of Ed Wade leaves the Astros leaderless at an inconvenient time.

When MLB's Winter Meetings begin next week in Dallas, there will likely be 29 general managers in attendance. The Astros, who are expected to dismiss Ed Wade on Monday, won't be represented unless they hire his replacement within seven days.
 
Save for the lead-up to the July 31st Trade Deadline, the Winter Meetings may be the most important time for a team to have a GM and philosophy in place. The Astros are in need of a complete overhaul, from the majors, to the minors, to the front office, and next week's Meetings would have been an excellent time to start the process.

Instead, with Wade gone, president Tal Smith retiring or being dismissed, and manager Brad Mills waiting to learn his fate, the organization may be in more turmoil than ever. The Astros are unlikely to be significant players in the free agent market, but if they were, would any agent acting in good faith tell his client to sign with a team whose direction is unclear? If another team sees a possible trade fit with Houston and wants to discuss it at the Meetings, who will decide whether the deal benefits the Astros?



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September 8, 2011 12:09 pm

Kiss'Em Goodbye: The Houston Astros

18

Ben Lindbergh, Kevin Goldstein and ESPN Insider

There's hope in Houston, just not for next season (or the one after that)

Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade -- whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.

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Why would Jim Crane resist moving to the AL West, and should he?

The certification of Jim Crane’s bid to buy the Houston Astros has now gone on longer than the Vietnam War, albeit with fewer casualties, and seems to have just as much hope of wrapping up early. Yesterday, a Houston Fox outlet reported why: the commissioner is waiting on Crane to commit to moving the 49-year-old franchise to the American League West.

If the move is a potential deal-breaker for the commissioner (the article perplexingly suggests both that it is and it isn’t), you would think Crane would give the nod—better to have a baseball team in the AL West than to not have one at all. That said, moving the Astros to the American League has implications for the franchise’s value in terms of how much it will cost to put a representative team on the field, and we’re talking about more than the salary of a competent designated hitter.  

Certainly the expectations are higher. Since 1996, the first full season under the three-division alignment, it has taken an average of 95 wins to earn the division title. The division has also seen five 100-game winners. The NL Central required an average of 93 wins and has had just three 100-game winners, and the requirement has been dropping—the average for the last five seasons (2006-2010) is just 89 with only one team, the 2008 Cubs, winning more than 91 games.

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July 6, 2011 9:00 am

On the Beat: The Brad and the Ugly

5

John Perrotto

The Astros have struggled on the field and face uncertainty in the owner's box, but manager Brad Mills isn't letting that get him down.

Brad Mills might be the most optimistic man in baseball. That sense of optimism serves him well as the Astros' manager.

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May 20, 2011 7:58 am

On the Beat: Rebuilding the Astros

4

John Perrotto

Jim Crane says he hopes to restock Houston with youth once he buys the team. Can first baseman Brett Wallace be part of the solution?

It seems $680 million only goes so far these days.

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December 16, 2009 12:22 pm

On the Beat: Midweek Update

24

John Perrotto

The Winter Meetings after-party stands to blow away the event itself, with changes coming on multiple fronts.

Bud Selig is usually so quick to remind everyone that such concepts as the wild card and interleague play were added to Major League Baseball during his commissionership that one fears he might blow out a rotator cuff while vigorously patting himself on the back. However, with attendance falling and television ratings down, Selig is admitting that the grand old game has some problems. On Tuesday, he announced the formation of a 14-person special committee for on-field matters that includes field managers, general managers, and club owners, among others. Glaring in their omission were players and umpires.

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October 11, 2009 12:23 pm

On the Beat: Post-season Weekend Update

5

John Perrotto

Today's Three 'Rs' are Replay, Rangers, and Rocktober, plus skipper shuffling and rumors from around the game.

Phil Cuzzi barely had enough time to mistakenly signal a foul ball when advocates of expanded instant replay started howling for change. Major League Baseball begrudgingly became the last major North American professional sports league to implement the use of television replays to help aid in umpiring calls in August, 2008. Replay reviews are used on boundary calls concerning home runs, and Commissioner Bud Selig had to have his arm twisted almost off to agree to that.

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