I don't know if there is a story with less legs than this out there. It's been in the making for at least the past two years, but it seems that now Drayton McLane is willing to sell the Astros. The team is publicly up for bid and we will be bombarded with rumors and financial stories for probably the next year. Yay.
It seems that I may have angered the baseball gods with my column on Drayton. I fear I have set off something that can't be contained. I'm sorry, almighty spirits. I didn't mean I'd come around so fully on Drayton. He still screwed up those drafts. He rode Billy Wagner out on a rail. I swear I don't think he's a good owner...
And yet, I still kinda do. He may not have always been a good owner, but I think I like where he's at right now. He's not perfect, but I'd certainly take him if he stays on track. The most important change came when Ed Wade came on board. It didn't happen right away (see: Tejada, Miguel), but Wade got Drayton to see how to build a team his way. Both the owner and the general manager are on the same page. I don't know that you can say that about earlier teams.
Hunsicker constantly raged against McLane's moves and may have led most directly to fans negative image of him. Purpura seemed too much a mouthpiece for Drayton's own baseball philosophy instead of standing up for one of his own. It may have taken his spectacular failure to prepare Drayton to listen to someone else, which is where Wade comes in. In the last three seasons, how many bad moves can you blame on Drayton? Yeah, he backed down the payroll, but not at the expense of losing players in their primes. Most of you probably agreed with him not signing aging veterans and instead investing in the draft/international scouting.
Now, about that Barmes trade. I've been talking and reflecting on it while reading lots of your comments. (PS way to go TCBers. I can't remember the last offseason thread that went 100 comments). If you break the Barmes trade into parts, it doesn't seem as bad as my gut reaction to it was. I'm okay with the Astros adding Barmes. He seems like a nice enough guy and has a couple of tools which will help this team (power and defense). He's not perfect and probably not as good as a Juan Uribe, but he'll be significantly cheaper and won't be locked up long-term. I suspect Uribe will get at least a three-year deal.
On the other side, I'm not opposed to the idea of trading Felipe Paulino. He's a good pitcher who flashed greatness at times. Beardy was one of my favorite pitchers this season, but it wasn't because of what he did. Those great moments just came too infrequently. Plus, he's not exactly a kid. He turned 27 back in October. While that doesn't preclude him from growth, it's not like we traded away a 24-year old. Paulino, even if he hit, probably wouldn't have played at a high level when this team is ready to contend. He'd be expensive and declining by then. So, by itself, I don't mind trading Paulino away.
The one snag is the non-tender part. If Barmes truly would have been freely available, the Astros probably didn't make the best deal. But, what if he re-signed with Colorado on a lesser deal? What if he signed with a contender like the Giants? They certainly need a shortstop and Barmes would have been cheaper. Maybe the Orioles make a big push for him. Then, his price would have gone up from the 4 million range he'll probably get in arbitration. So, yeah, they could have gotten a deal, but they could have gotten him for nothing too if they waited. I just wish we had gotten some explanation from Ed Wade about this.
What else? Oh, yeah, there's a big new scoreboard in MMP. It's big. Really big. And it's apparently under construction right now. So there's that.
One last thing on the possible sale to remember: Drayton is going to value the team highly, as he should. There is no telling how valuable that RSN will be once it's up and running. Possible buyers will try to lowball him on that, since the team will only own a 1/3 share. But, that could easily be worth 100 million in five years, if not more. That's just one of the reasons why there will be some interesting negotiations in the offing. I'm just glad we've got some economic majors floating around here to help out when I get over my head with the numbers game.
What do you think? When do you see a sale going down? Aside from Mark Cuban, is there anyone you'd want to own the team? What do you think the sale price will be?