Recent reports indicate that the sale of the Houston Astros franchise to local businessman Jim Crane is expected to be officially completed by the end of August, provided that the owners’ approval vote passes (it unanimously will).
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Crane has already privately indicated to Commissioner Bud Selig that he would like to keep the team in the National League.
However, MLB Trade Rumors cites an ESPN story by Jason Stark in which he explains:
[T]he other 29 current owners have the right to veto any move of any kind — to another league, to another division, to any place they don’t feel like moving.
But Crane doesn’t have that right, just because he’s the new guy. We keep hearing that he’s told Selig behind the scenes that he really doesn’t want the Astros to leave the NL Central. But face it. He doesn’t have much leverage here.
If realignment ever happens, you can bet the Astros will be moving — somewhere. But where?
Of course, the Astros have been on the open market since the early-Spring when long-time owner Drayton McLane announced that he was putting the team up for sale. It took very little time for Crane to show significant interest.
Personally, I would be totally fine with the team switching divisions (such as a shift to the N.L. West), so long as they remain in the National League and somebody else relocates to the land of the D.H.