In another step towards adding an additional wildcard spot, Major League Baseball has asked Houston businessman Jim Crane to agree to moving the Houston Astros to the American League, if he is approved as owner of the team, sources tell FOX 26 Sports in Houston. FOX 26 adds that Crane has yet to respond to the request from commissioner Bud Selig.
There was speculation earlier in the season that baseball is looking to add another wildcard, but first baseball will need to balance out the two leagues in order to achieve that. The National League currently has 16 teams to the American League's 14.
Jim Crane, a Houston businessman, bought the Astros from Drayton McLane for $680 million, but the deal is still pending the approval from the 29 other owners before the sale is final. A vote was scheduled for last month, but was delayed according to baseball as it continued the approval process.
If you're Jim Crane, what would you do? You already have $680 million on the table, and now baseball is asking you to change leagues, if you become owner. First thing running in the back of my mind would be there's no chance I can get rejected ownership of the Astros if I agree to switch leagues. Remember, baseball can't switch teams from one league to another without the owner's consent. That's something I would take fully advantage of.