With plans to buy a Triple-A team on hold, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane says it’s very possible his team will extend its player-development deal with the Oklahoma City RedHawks (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
Crane stressed his goal was to own all or most of the Astros affiliates a la the St. Louis Cardinals; he has already purchased the Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas League) and talked with a developer about building a team in the northern Houston suburbs to house a Triple-A team. But those talks have stalled, and with the current PDC expiring at the end of 2014, a decision will need to be made before the end of the year on what direction the Astros will take. From NewsOK.com:
Crane still envisions a Triple-A ballpark in the suburbs north of Houston. But since there are no immediate plans to construct a Triple-A stadium, will the Astros sign a two-year extension with the RedHawks?
“These guys here have done a great job for us,” Crane said. “We may extend the contract. Right now we don’t have a place to go. We have to look at where we’ll be next year. We very well could extend here.”…
“We’ve made it clear as an organization we’d like to own our Triple-A team, but right now there’s nothing in the works,” Crane said. “Our team is here … We like this market. This is a great ballpark and these folks (Mandalay) do a great job.”
With Reid Ryan installed as president of the Astros, there’s the persistent rumor that the Astros will shift affiliations next seaon to the Round Rock Express. And, of course, Mandalay Baseball Properties is on the block and should be sold before Crane and crew need to make a decision. Word is that a deal is close with a potential buyer for the RedHawks: a MLB team, we hear. This comes after a sale to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Don Smiley and a third Milwaukee investor, David Lubar, was scrapped after two MLB teams objected to Brewers management of their farm teams.
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