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Tag:Jim Crane
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:54 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 5:17 pm
 

Astros 'leaning heavily' toward new uniforms



By Matt Snyder


The Houston Astros will move to the American League West in 2013, and they may have new uniforms in doing so. In fact, it sounds pretty likely.

“If the change is going to be made, certainly next year going to the American League is our transition and we’re leaning heavily that way," new owner Jim Crane said (via Ultimate Astros).

[Knobler: Crane off to a good start]

Any logo or uniform changes must be submitted to Major League Baseball by May 1, but the public won't see them until after the 2012 season. Of course, the Marlins changed up this past year and there were some leaks throughout the late part of the regular season.

Crane pondered changing the name from Astros earlier this offseason, but the outcry from fans was so overwhelming he backed off. It appears he will continue to keep fan feedback a priority.

“We’ll get some of the staff and some of the fans in on the next look, and hopefully we’ll make a decision on the deadline that they’re requiring if we’re going to make a decision,” Crane said (Ultimate Astros).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:41 pm
 

AL West will be the new AL East



By Matt Snyder


The AL East has been pretty widely regarded as the best division in baseball for a while. And with good reason, as the numbers don't lie. In the past 15 years, the AL wild card has come from the AL East 11 times. The best record has also come from the AL East 11 times. The American League World Series representative has come from the AL East nine times, while the World Series champion was an AL East team six times. Also note the '96 Yankees won it all, 16 seasons ago. Simply, it's a dominant division.

But with the events of this offseason, we're liable to see a shift in power to the west coast. Monday's Yoenis Cespedes signing for the A's wasn't a seismic shift type deal, but it shows they're focusing on winning within the next four years. Also note that the extensions of general manager Billy Beane and club president Michael Crowley are a true sign the A's will eventually get their new stadium in San Jose. When that happens, they'll start to have some extra revenue. So things should be looking up for the A's in the next few years, right? Well, not so fast.

AL West offseason
In fact, the A's might be looking like the AL West's version of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2000, the Orioles haven't finished better than third -- which happened only once -- and have come in last the past four seasons. They've also had a payroll of at least $72 million seven of the past 11 seasons. They aren't poor by any means. They just can't keep up in the monster of a division that is the AL East.

Let's see what's in store for the A's in the next decade or so, in terms of their divisional competition.

• The Angels have an owner who just shelled out over $300 million to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency. It probably didn't seem like much of a big deal to Arte Moreno, considering he's looking at a local TV contract of 20 years for $3 billion. Plus, the Angels play in the mega-market that is Los Angeles. They aren't going away.

• The Rangers paid over $50 million just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish and then paid him over $50 million more to sign. The have a front office and ownership group that can compete with anyone in terms of brains and most teams in terms of dollars. The Dallas area is a large market and the fan base is continuing to grow after two straight World Series appearances. They aren't going away, either.

• The Astros are moving to the American League West, and while it's gonna be a few years before they can compete, remember they have a new owner, Jim Crane, who likely didn't pay $680 million to own a doormat of a baseball team. Plus, Houston is one of the largest markets in America -- and the Astros had a nine-figure payroll in 2009. Don't discount how they'll play in this division come 2015 or 2016. They can spend, and will have to in order to keep up.

• The Mariners are in the 12th biggest market in MLB, which isn't bad at all. But they'd be at risk of falling far behind if not for a lucrative TV deal in their near future. Last week, a USA Today report noted the Mariners are among a handful of teams ready to cash in with a mega-TV deal like the Angels just did. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners can opt out of their current local TV deal with Root Sports and hit the open market. The Seattle Times also pointed out that the Mariners have trimmed their bottom line to the point that the only long-term investment is the reliable ace Felix Hernandez. So they could be positioning for a major strike within the next few years, after landing the aforementioned lucrative TV deal.

The process is going to be gradual, especially and obviously with the Mariners, Astros and A's.

Just don't be surprised if a decade from now the AL West is viewed as the best division in baseball. The resources are all falling into place for a westward move in the balance of league power.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:33 pm
 

Owner: Astros not changing name

By Matt Snyder

Last week, word circulated that new Astros owner Jim Crane and his front office were kicking around the idea of changing the team name from Astros to something else. Evidently, the fans have spoken, because it's not happening.

Via MLB.com blog network:
“You asked for change and we added several fan friendly initiatives last week and we hope you like them,” Crane said. “We will continue to listen, and to look for additional ways to improve on and off the field.

“One thing that we are not going to change is the name. We received strong feedback and consensus among season ticket holders and many fans, and we will not change the name Astros. The Houston Astros are here to stay.”
One area where Crane wasn't left a choice -- despite significant outcry from fans -- is the move to the AL West. That's still happening before the start of the 2013 season. Crane had to sign off on the move in order to become the new owner, but that still hasn't sat well with fans, as Crane obviously has an uphill battle when it comes to winning them over.

Perhaps keeping the same name will get a few fans on his side.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Source: Astros to interview Logan White

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Houston Astros are working through the Winter Meetings without a new general manager, but they're continuing the interview process. A source has told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that Logan White, the current assistant general manager of scouting for the Dodgers, will interview for the position.

White has overseen drafts when the Dodgers selected star players Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, in addition to other quality selections like Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and Kenley Jansen.

White joins Royals assistant GM of scouting and player development J.J. Picollo, Cardinals vice president of player procurement Jeff Luhnow and Rockies assistant GM Bill Geivett as a serious candidates for the job. 

Dream candidate Andrew Friedman will not take the job, and instead stay with the Rays. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine has also pulled out of the running.

Astros transitions
Upon the dismissal of former GM Ed Wade, Astros CEO George Postolos said the following:

"We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal."

The Astros have not set a timetable on hiring a new GM. Dave Gottfried, who was Wade's assistant, is currently serving as the interim GM, but is not a candidate to land the full-time gig.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:36 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Levine, Hunsicker candidates to watch for Astros

By Matt Snyder

With Ed Wade reportedly set to be given his walking papers Monday by new Astros owner Jim Crane, the ballclub will be searching for a new general manager very soon. With Houston favorite Andrew Friedman likely out of the running, Thad Levine is an early candidate to watch, sources have told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.

Levine, 40, is the assistant general manager for the Texas Rangers, a position he's held since 2005 -- when Jon Daniels was hired as the youngest GM in baseball history. The Rangers' brain trust has put together back-to-back American League championship clubs, and this was an organization that had previously never won a playoff series, so Levine is obviously well-groomed to take over a ballclub of his own.

Also, per Knobler, don't rule out Gerry Hunsicker. He currently works with Friedman as an executive for Tampa Bay, but still has a home in Houston. Hunsicker was the Astros' GM from 1995-2004, presiding over/setting up a period of time that easily qualifies as the best in franchise history -- when the Astros went to the playoffs six times in a nine season span and also made their only World Series appearance.

There's no way of knowing how quickly Houston would want to hire a new GM, considering the firing of Wade hasn't actually happened yet, but the Winter Meetings start in a week, so it would behoove them to make a very quick hire, if possible.

Finally, on the managerial situation, Brad Mills will not be fired, reports Richard Justice.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Can Astros land Andrew Friedman? Doubtful

By Matt Snyder

With the seemingly inevitable dismissal of general manager Ed Wade set to reportedly take place Monday, the Astros are soon to be looking for a replacement. One name sure to be bouncing around the rumor mill this week? Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

This isn't like the Cubs' courtship of Theo Epstein, nor is it like when the Cubs were rumored to be interested in Friedman. No, this is different.

Friedman actually has roots in Houston, and even the Astros, to a certain extent. He was born in 1976, in Houston. He graduated from Episcopal High School, in Houston. He played baseball at Tulane University in New Orleans, just as his father did, which is about 350 miles from Houston. He supposedly grew up an Astros fan.

So it makes sense, right?

Well, yes it does. Only it's very unlikely to happen. Friedman loves his job in Tampa Bay and is very unlikely to leave it, even for his hometown, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler.

People surely won't stop thinking about the match until a new Astros GM is hired, but keep in mind it is a complete longshot.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:54 am
 

Astros fire GM Wade, president Smith

By Matt Snyder

In news that is hardly surprising, the Houston Astros are making major changes to the front office, including the dismissal of general manager Ed Wade. Club president Tal Smith -- who has been with the club for 35 seasons -- has also been dismissed. Sources have told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that Smith was told via phone he was fired.

Crane is going to meet with the front office Monday morning. Per Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Crane and club president George Postolos have meetings set with both the baseball and business sides of operations. Assistant general manager Dave Gottfried is now the interim general manager, but is not a candidate to be the new GM.

"With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations," Postolos said in a statement. "We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.

"The search for a new General Manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal."

The smart money is on a quick hire, considering the Winter Meetings begin in just one week. Not that a hire will take place before then, it's just an illustration of how much the Astros are now behind other teams in looking for front office personnel for the 2012 season.

Houston General Manager
All the ingredients for a change were in place. First of all, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in franchise history, going 56-106 and finishing with the worst record in baseball. There also isn't a ton of help on the way from a relatively barren farm system. Next, new owner Jim Crane is taking over for Drayton McLane. With a change in ownership and a team that basically needs to start over -- especially since they're headed to the American League West -- it is the perfect time to bring in a new regime.

Wade, 55, was named the Astros' GM in September of 2007 and under his watch the Astros have gotten progressively worse. Not only did they trade away long-time fan favorites Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, but they went from 86 to 56 wins in just four years. Wade was previously the GM of the Phillies, but was fired after the 2005 season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Stop complaining about changes in baseball



By Matt Snyder


The Astros are going to move to the American League West, likely in time for the 2013 season. And judging from the reactions on Twitter, message boards and comments sections, the entire sport of baseball has apparently been ruined. We might as well just give up, right?

Dear Lord, people, dial it down. This is sports. They are supposed to be fun.

It never ceases to amaze me how utterly furious the masses get whenever baseball dares to makes a change. Is it the nation-wide, fan stigma attached to commissioner Bud Selig? That's possible. It's also possible it's the romantic infatuation die-hard baseball fans have with tradition. Whatever the reason, it's astounding. The NFL could radically realign and it would be universally accepted (oh wait, that already happened).

What if we treated our everyday life the way we treat baseball -- in that we aren't allowed to change anything, lest you upset the so-called tradition.

Go ahead and use your rotary phone, refuse to upgrade to high-definition TV, make sure your Internet connection is still a dial-up and definitely don't use the microwave for anything. If you like video games, you're only allowed to play Frogger or Donkey Kong on that old-school Atari. I mean, it's just madness all these changes people are making with technology, right? And that's just with technology. We could do this little exercise with any aspect of life. But in baseball, any change is tantamount to sacrilege, cry the masses.

Astros to AL West
The Astros move to the American League at at time when the franchise is facing a massive rebuilding project. They'll now be able to do so as an American League team. The Brewers, meanwhile, are firmly entrenched as an important National League team, having also developed good rivalries with the Cubs and Cardinals. It doesn't matter if the Brewers were in the American League a few decades ago, no matter how much people want to cry about Bud Selig's move of the Brewers to the NL. The past is the past. Leave it there. Look to the future. This move makes sense right now.

If you do insist on looking at the past, let's realize that the World Series used to pit the teams with the best record in each league against each other. There wasn't even an LCS. Remember how great that was, old people? Under that format, this year the World Series would have pitted the Yankees against the Phillies. Man, I can't imagine how much whining there would have been from everyone outside the northeast. For a few decades, there was only an LCS, no LDS. Then the wild card was added. All the changes have done is make postseason baseball more exciting than ever. The last month of this past season was one of the best of all-time.

I've seen people complaining about year-long interleague play with the rhetorical question, "why even have two leagues?" What an absurd complaint. You have the two leagues so you have a proper route to the World Series, just like the NFL has the AFC and NFC while the NHL and NBA have the East and West.

I've seen the lament that interleague play won't be "special" anymore. Special? Would the Marlins vs. Pirates be any less "special" than the Padres vs. A's right now? Please.

I've heard people whine about how the World Series teams will be too familiar with each other now. With trades and free agency, lots of players are familiar with each other anyway. And I don't understand how there's so much extra allure if the teams aren't familiar. It's the World freaking Series. You don't need to have an additional selling point.

Face it, having 16 teams in one league while 14 in the other was pretty ludicrous. Just as it's ludicrous to have different rules in each league (DH in AL, no DH in NL). It's one sport. Things should be uniform. Again, what is it about baseball that makes us lose all sense of perspective? I can't help but think 25 years from now we'll look back and scratch our heads at why the consensus was that it was OK to have 16 teams in the NL, 14 in the AL, but four playoff teams from each league. So, statistically, it was easier to make the playoffs from the AL West than NL Central. And that's fair, Houston fans?

It couldn't possibly be more obvious that the underlying hatred is simply change itself. As Garth Algar once said, "we fear change." All the rationale from those opposing the change is just a convenient justification because your gut is just telling you that you don't want anything to change. That's it.

But let's look at the excitement and intrigue the wild card has brought baseball. That was a big change that was met with venomous opposition at the time. Not all change is bad. Let's accept the fact that the Astros are moving and start looking to the future of baseball. Yeah, yeah, here come the mudslingers to accuse me of not being a true fan. That's fine. Forgive me for actually enjoying the sport instead of being a change-resistent dinosaur.

The whiners can feel free to watch a low-def tube TV. I'll just sit here and enjoy the sport I love on a high-def flatscreen.

So which one of us is being unreasonable?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com