I was thinking about the $50 million Crane is asking for in the move to the American League and what it meant.
Sure, it's always all about the money, and that basically pays for the Astros payroll next season (or for a Carlos Lee buyout). But, what caught in my mind were the reports that said Selig may have gone to Drayton, asking for him to drop the price by $50 million to make the compensation work.
That doesn't make a lot of sense, though. Why would Drayton care about compensating MLB or Crane, when he's leaving? He's only going to be forced to drop his price if Selig threatens to blow the whole thing up, and that's not going to happen at this point (I think).
No, the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense that the money is a way not only to justify the move, but also to make some of the reticent owners feel good about Crane's financing. While it's assumed the reluctance to approve Crane has more to do with the discrimination and war profiteering claims, what if it's not? What if there were more of those owners who had a problem with the debt service Crane would be bringing to the table?
By giving him that $50 million, Crane would be able to reduce that debt immediately by a good chunk. With the McCourt and Hicks messes, I think the other owners care more about that debt than the character issues.
That might explain how this whole interlocking mess is going down. If it's a question of character, moving to the AL and the debt, this solution solves all that. Crane's visit with Selig allayed the character concerns, the move to the AL will be compensated, which in turn solves the debt problem. If that wasn't an issue? Why on earth does Selig have to give Crane money? It's a negotiating tactic and it worked on multiple levels.