Astros Likely To Join American League In 2013

Prospective Astros owner Jim Crane has agreed to move the team to the American League in 2013, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Crane still needs the approval of baseball's other owners. He would get a discount of approximately $50MM to switch leagues, according to Heyman. Bob Nightengale of USA Today says compensation will be in the $80MM range (Twitter link).

The move would even out the two leagues at 15 teams each and create six divisions of five teams, assuming Houston joins the four-team American League West. The shift is tied to the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, which may include identical schedules for teams within the same division and boost inter-league play considerably. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained in his GM Meetings preview, owners are expected to approve the sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Crane this week.


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338 Comments on "Astros Likely To Join American League In 2013"


wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Does this confirm the two 15 team leagues/no divisions?

Wilsonl
3 years 9 months ago

“and create six divisions of five teams, assuming Houston joins the four-team American League West.”

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Ahh…that was added after my original comment.  My question is answered nonetheless. 

3 years 9 months ago

There has been alot of talk about realignment lately. I wanted to post my plan for the change to baseball. I agree with moving one team from the Nl to the Al, doesn’t matter much to me which team moves. I would solve the DH issue by going with the home ballpark rule. If the Al team is at home there would be a dh and vice versa. Currently teams play their division opponents 18 or 19 times per season. Here’s my plan, I would expand the season by 2 games to 164 per season. I would reduce the games against division opponents to 16 games each, so with the divisions being even that would mean 16*4=64 divisional games per season. That would leave 100 games to be divided amongst the other 25 teams which would mean every team would be playing each other at least 4 times per season. I am an Orioles fan so I will use them as an example.
In order to keep travel costs down I would have an O’s west coast road trip consist of 8 to 10 games. They would go to LA and play a 2 game series with the Dodgers and then 2 games with the Angels from there they would go the Bay area and play 2 against the Giants and A’s. This would work for an 8 games trip for a 10 or 12 game trip SD, Seattle or AZ could be added for a 2 game series. This would be the ideal and most fair way to change the game.
 
 
It would only be 2 games taking a couple off days away or playing 2 double headers would take care of that. If it were kept at 162 then the 4 games each would not work. If the divisional games were moved back to 15 each and 4 games each were played against the other league that would break down as 15*4=60 and 4*15=60 that would be 120 games. That would leave 42 games to be divided among the other 10 teams in their league. This would allow for the elimination of 2 games to a 160 game season. The owners would never agree to the loss of revenue for 2 games though.

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

I know Astros fans are going to hate this, but something had to be done.  It doesn’t appear expansion is really an option right now and it just doesn’t make sense to have unbalanced leagues.

I feel bad for the fans, but I agree that this was the move that made the most sense.  Hopefully a good rivalry will develop between the Rangers and Astros that can help both teams in the future.

NYBravosFan10
3 years 9 months ago

notice how no fans responded with “I hate this” lol

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

Have you not read through some of the discussions on this topic before?  Astro fans hate this, and honestly, I don’t blame them.  I wouldn’t like it either.

NYBravosFan10
3 years 9 months ago

I understand what you meant but my joke was that Astros fans aren’t common

mikecav19
3 years 9 months ago

Neither were Braves fans in the late ’80s when they were losing.  At least the Astros can sell out a playoff game when they get there.

mikecav19
3 years 9 months ago

I HATE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 years 9 months ago

I hate this

3 years 9 months ago

I hate this…

NYBravosFan10
3 years 9 months ago

notice how no fans responded with “I hate this” lol

icedrake523
3 years 9 months ago

No, the move that made the most sense was moving the Brewers back into the AL Central since they were there for over 20 years. But why would Selig want to make things harder for his former team?

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

Ok, so then what team are you going to move out of the AL Central to the AL West?  The goal here is making six 5 team divisions.  Not just throwing any team to the AL.

3 years 9 months ago

The move that would make the most sense would be to move Arizona to the AL west and Houston to the NL West.

Luke
3 years 9 months ago

Agreed on moving the D’Backs to the AL West and Astros to the NL West.  We in Houston have a much richer history in the National League than do the D’Backs.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t give a rat’s behind about this supposed history in leagues.  It’s nothing but a worthless mirage.

MLB should chuck out the current league alignment entirely, and go with a new alignment that’s 100% geographically based, with two leagues one composed of the teams east of the Mississippi River and the other the teams west of the mississippi river (and include the 2 chicago teams in the West).  2 divisions per league, also based on geography.  

Lower travel costs and higher away game viewership since most away games would be no more than 1 time zone away for eastern league games, or 2 tz away for western league games.  And that would increase ad revenues because the viewership would be higher.

3 years 9 months ago

Yes, because as we all know, history is trivial in the world of baseball.

3 years 9 months ago

If any NL West team were to move, it should be Colorado.  They have no NL West rivalries and are pretty much the odd one out, plus they play more like an American League team and their ballpark would be well suited for an AL environment.

icedrake523
3 years 9 months ago

Move the Brewers to the AL Central, the Royals to the AL West. The Royals were in the AL West back when there were 2 divisions and it’s not as if they have a close rival within the Central.

3 years 9 months ago

Or you could just not have divisions, since they skew statistics and hinder real competition.

But as a Tigers fan, I have no interest in Houston coming over. At all. Milwaukee come back home, we’ll send the Royals out west.

John A
3 years 9 months ago

No…this is what you do:

Move Milwaukee to AL Central, Move Minnesota to AL West.

Astros stay in NL Central. All NL teams stay in NL, All AL teams (are back and) stay in AL

and Im an Astros fan, and I hate this realignment bs.

icedrake523
3 years 9 months ago

No, the move that made the most sense was moving the Brewers back into the AL Central since they were there for over 20 years. But why would Selig want to make things harder for his former team?

essmeier
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah. Just like those hot intra-divisional rivalries between the Cardinals and the Royals and the Rays and the Marlins.

Sure. 

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

Those are inTER-divisional rivalries.  “Infra” basically means inside, “inter” basically means outside.

3 years 9 months ago

Why Houston, kick Arizona over into the West, Houston has been in the National League for 4 decades, Arizona less than half that.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

Why ask why?  The answer is obvious.  The NLC has 6 teams and they wanted to drop that by 1.  The ALW has 4 teams and they wanted to increase that by one.  The easiest answer is to take a team from that NLC and move it to the ALW.  

And furthermore, picking Houston means that the Rangers have an in-division team to play that doesn’t require flying all the way to the west coast.

You guys are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too hung up on worthless league history.

3 years 9 months ago

If you can move Houston to the American League West, you can just as easily move Arizona to the American League West, and move Houston the National league West.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

Incorrect.  Moving Arizona to the AL requires two teams changing divisions, not just one.  Hence, it is NOT “just as easy”.

John A
3 years 9 months ago

NO…

Pirates and Phillies are both in the National League, and neither play in the same division. Why is this all of a sudden okay when it comes to Astros and Rangers???

Heres why: its NOT.

Milwaukee was an AL team first. you move them back and move Minnesota to the AL West. that makes the most sense.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

No, it doesn’t make the most sense.

Starting with the Phillies and the Pirates, they used to play in the same division. This changed when MLB went to the 3 div’s per league format because the owners wanted to have a more geographically friendly divisional model so that teams in divisions could play more away games within their own time zones. This has worked out fairly well, with the exception of the Rangers in the AL West. The Pirates could have stayed in the NL East at that time I suppose and made the NL East, rather than the NL Central, the 6 team division.

Back to the question at hand, what makes the most sense is to do whatever preserves the integrity of the geographical divisional model desired by the owners when this current model was created. Flinging teams from various time zones all over the place is silly and only serves to hurt team revenues and away game viewership, which was why they produced the current model in the first place. The most sensible solution is to try to make the move which will have the least impact on this model. Which is why Houston was selected. Arguably, Flipping the D-backs to the AL West and Houston to the NL West could accomplish the same thing fairly well too, though it would move the Astros out of a time-zone friendly NL Central into a terribly time-zone unfriendly NL West, which would mean that all of their in-division away games would end up starting at about 9pm.

3 years 9 months ago

They could’ve placed the Brewers back in the AL Central, moved the Royals to the AL West and called it a day.

Seeing that we’re being forced to accept this in Houston, I’d like to see them get the “Colt .45s” name back and start anew in a new league. Yeah, the Colts were an NL expansion team, but they’ve been the Astros for 47 seasons and I just see the Astros as an NL team.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

In a time when the old Washington Bullets changed their name to get away from a gun motif, do you really think that MLB would change a team’s name to return TO a gun motif?  Besides “Colt 45’s” is a really dumb name.

platetectonics
3 years 9 months ago

idk. being named after a gun is kinda awesome imo.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

I guess that it’s a matter of taste. I think that it sounds really silly.

3 years 9 months ago

Fair point about the Bullets naming issue.  Then you made the “dumb” comment and really invalidated yourself.

Regardless, call them the Colts, whatever, I just think the team needs a new identity in a new league.  The “Astros” brand with all it’s success and smashing failures is purely synonymous with the NL.  The team is far enough in the rebuilding phase, it would be like an expansion team in a new league with a new lineage with the perk of holding on to their heritage.

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

As for the “dumb” comment, it’s a matter of opinion. I think that it sounds “dumb”

As for renaming, if it was going to happen, doing it as part of the move would make sense I suppose, though some might see it as rubbing salt in the wound.

The Astros name doesn’t seem to have as much zing to it as it did when they played in the Astrodome, but maybe that’s just a skewed opinion of someone who’s looking at it from the outside. :)

platetectonics
3 years 9 months ago

idk. being named after a gun is kinda awesome imo.

3 years 9 months ago

Move the Royals to the National League, people forget they are even in the American League, They have no rivalry with any team, They are still hung up on 1985, convinced the Cardinals are their great rival so we play them twice a year in interleague play (Cardinal fans buy most of the tickets and make the 5 hour drive). If they are so interested in having us be their rival, switch them and Milwaukee, move Texas to the NL West (when I think of Texas I think of the West anyway). and move San Deigo, Colorado or Arizona to the American League West.

3 years 9 months ago

I hate this…

Crucisnh
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t think that it had to be done.  I don’t think that it was a big deal having the two leagues of slightly different sizes.  I think that requiring constant interleague play is a far greater negative than any supposed benefit from having 2 equal sized leagues.

The_BiRDS
3 years 9 months ago

They should have moved San Diego to the AL West and put Houston in the NL West. 

Although DHs will be very attracted to that left field wall. 

3 years 9 months ago

I guess this means interleague play year round now…

Mike
3 years 9 months ago

Wouldnt there have to be a change in the scheduling? WIth 15 teams in each league, One team will be off every series right? So they’d have to do something where two teams are playing “interleague” each series right? Is that all part of the new CBA or something? With 15 teams in each league and the current scheduling, one team from each league will have a series off.

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

There will always be at least one interleague series going on. 

Mike
3 years 9 months ago

That’s what I thought I read someplace. So would “interleague” be like teams in the NL Central playing every team in the AL east a series at home and one on the road? and each division having an opposite league division assignment each year>?  That’s what I read on a article online.

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure how it would work exactly.  Hopefully it is something like that so we can have a balanced schedule.

3 years 9 months ago

Wow, Thats quite the discount.

UncleCharles
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t think the NL should get rid of the DH I think the difference between the two leagues really creates a lot of interest. I don’t know about you but I like watching the odd NL game as it differs so much from the AL style.

Wilsonl
3 years 9 months ago

Yay!

algionfriddo
3 years 9 months ago

Hope they at least discuss killing the DH.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

The union would never allow that.  It would most likely be NL adopting the dh. Which I also doubt will happen.

3 years 9 months ago

But would the union allow it if rosters were increased to 26? My guess is yes.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Maybe in the next CBA agreement depending on how much the DHs get paid in the near future or what it appears that the new DH role is.  eg rotating more instead of single players.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Maybe in the next CBA agreement depending on how much the DHs get paid in the near future or what it appears that the new DH role is.  eg rotating more instead of single players.

mmwatkin
3 years 9 months ago

My guess is “no”.

So wait…you want to get rid of the DH AND add another player? The 26th guy would either be a 6th guy on the bench or the 8th guy in the bullpen. I highly doubt the need for that would convince pitchers and hitters to vote to abolish the DH. 

3 years 9 months ago

But would the union allow it if rosters were increased to 26? My guess is yes.

3 years 9 months ago

Instead of killing the DH they ought to be discussing killing pitchers hitting.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t know why people are talking about killing anyone, seems like quite an overreaction.

3 years 9 months ago

Instead of killing the DH they ought to be discussing killing pitchers hitting.

mwilly33
3 years 9 months ago

Still makes no sense why a newer team can’t be moved…

Arizona, Colorado, Milwaukee…

Any I those clubs would make more sense to flip to the AL than the Astros…except that they aren’t in a perfect strong arm position. This is a perfect use of leverage. It’s just the latest example of how Bud screws the Houston fan. Lets hope Crane is half the “savior” we’re all making him out to be.

Damn, now I have to switch my keeper leagues to AL only…

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Part of me still doesn’t understand this. I have no real interest in the matter, but I always felt either the Rockies or D-Backs made the most sense to move to the AL. Both are the newest teams (in the west) and both have characteristics that suit the AL type of baseball, especially the Rockies imo. In turn, you move the Astros to the NL West (I mean the Rangers are the AL West) so I don’t see the difference in “west vs central” argument. Again, doesn’t bother me, but I’ve always felt the Astro’s made the least sense and I still don’t have a conclusive answer as to why they were chosen over the Rockies or D-Backs.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

The big argument against the Rockies or Diamondbacks is that it requires moving two teams instead of just one. With the disparity being between the NL Central and the AL West, any move of a team not in the NL Central would have to be facilitated by moving a team out of the NL Central and into another division. The convenience of Houston’s current ownership status aside, the Astros are also the furthest West of the NL Central teams.

Basically, moving the Astros was the easiest way to get it done. The MLB had the luxury of the Astros being in a position that it would be amenable to changing leagues. They may as well take that rather than having to convince a team that has no real reason to change leagues to do so and THEN convincing the Astros to change divisions.

Path of least resistance.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I’m guessing that’s correct and ultimately what it came down too. The Rockies were the best fit for the AL West imo. Plus it would have changed the dynamic for the AL providing a new state/park to play in several times a year. Texas is hot and so now the Yanks, Sox and everyone else have to suffer for an additional 12-16 games a year. I don’t know, but the more I sit here and think about it, this is the one and so far the ONLY move that I think Bud screwed up. I do understand your point however, that it would have been a logistical and somewhat political nightmare for the league. It likely would have taken years longer and it appears Bud was adamant about getting this done before he left.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

The big argument against the Rockies or Diamondbacks is that it requires moving two teams instead of just one. With the disparity being between the NL Central and the AL West, any move of a team not in the NL Central would have to be facilitated by moving a team out of the NL Central and into another division. The convenience of Houston’s current ownership status aside, the Astros are also the furthest West of the NL Central teams.

Basically, moving the Astros was the easiest way to get it done. The MLB had the luxury of the Astros being in a position that it would be amenable to changing leagues. They may as well take that rather than having to convince a team that has no real reason to change leagues to do so and THEN convincing the Astros to change divisions.

Path of least resistance.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 9 months ago

The Astros aren’t exactly one of the old teams and their organization is only 7 years older than the Brewers.

Also the Astros make more sense than most. They’re in the large division and can move to the smallest without changing a lot of travelling logistics. Add to that with the Rangers there’s a built in market to attempt to manufacture a rivalry.

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

The only rivalry was between Uncle Drayton and Hicks for dumbest ownership and the (yee haw) silver boot series. Everyone thinks there will be some brutal rivalry ala Steelers-Ravens if the Rangers and Astros are in the same division…don’t count on iy. Also, there goes any hope for a I-45 World Series.

3 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure there was ever much hope for that anyway. I mean, this is the Astros we’re talking about.

3 years 9 months ago

The same Astros that went to the playoffs in 6 of 9 years and got to the world series 5 years before the Rangers decided to actually play good baseball for once in the past decade plus?

3 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure there was ever much hope for that anyway. I mean, this is the Astros we’re talking about.

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

The only rivalry was between Uncle Drayton and Hicks for dumbest ownership and the (yee haw) silver boot series. Everyone thinks there will be some brutal rivalry ala Steelers-Ravens if the Rangers and Astros are in the same division…don’t count on iy. Also, there goes any hope for a I-45 World Series.

MilwaukeeBravesFan
3 years 9 months ago

The Astros are also changing ownership and completely rebuilding their roster, so it will cause comparably less disruption to the team…. As far as the fan base, I would be interested in hearing from fans in Houston (Lance Berkman doesn’t count) rather than sports writers.

MilwaukeeBravesFan
3 years 9 months ago

The Astros are also changing ownership and completely rebuilding their roster, so it will cause comparably less disruption to the team…. As far as the fan base, I would be interested in hearing from fans in Houston (Lance Berkman doesn’t count) rather than sports writers.

Josh Venner
3 years 9 months ago

It also doesn’t make sense that both Texas teams are now in the AL. It would have made more sense if Colorado would have gone to the AL West, and the Astros would’ve move to the NL West. 

3 years 9 months ago

I agree with you. I would have liked to see Colorado come play in the West. But then I would be forced to not like the Rockies.

Josh Venner
3 years 9 months ago

It also doesn’t make sense that both Texas teams are now in the AL. It would have made more sense if Colorado would have gone to the AL West, and the Astros would’ve move to the NL West. 

Luke
3 years 9 months ago

Does no one else view this as extortion?  Am I biased because I’m a Houston fan?

3 years 9 months ago

This is straight up blackmail basically. “Move to the AL West or I wont approve your ownership…”

Wilsonl
3 years 9 months ago

(double post)

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 9 months ago

I like it

ReHabit
3 years 9 months ago

Wow, thanks for alienating your fanbase with your first move Jim Crane. It at least took Drayton McClain over 10years to accomplish that…

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah…and Uncle Drayton beat Dr McMullen’s record. Things happen quicker in the modern era.

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah…and Uncle Drayton beat Dr McMullen’s record. Things happen quicker in the modern era.

BK
3 years 9 months ago

As an Angels fan I’d like to be the first to welcome Ed Wade to our humble little division.  

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

Better get some trades in with him this year before he is in the same division and won’t trade.  Of course, he’ll probably be gone by the time they get to the AL West.

3 years 9 months ago

Appreciate the welcome. Hopefully, Wade can convince the Angels to take on Carlos Lee’s contract like they took on Vernon Wells. 

3 years 9 months ago

Appreciate the welcome. Hopefully, Wade can convince the Angels to take on Carlos Lee’s contract like they took on Vernon Wells. 

NYBravosFan10
3 years 9 months ago

it’s about to get humbler

UncleCharles
3 years 9 months ago

I hate disqus

mike292929
3 years 9 months ago

as much as vevo?

BK
3 years 9 months ago

Because the team sale was the only leverage MLB had to get a team to move from the  softer league to the AL.

UncleCharles
3 years 9 months ago

okay seriously disqus is messing with me right now.

NYBravosFan10
3 years 9 months ago

it recently sent a comment of mine to a moderator when it didn’t contain any swear words or was in anyway threatening…i feel your pain

IdontknowwhyIpostonforums
3 years 9 months ago

I think this is kind of like the random screenings at airports.

3 years 9 months ago

I really hope this doesn’t mean the DH will become universal. They should at least keep it interesting by leaving it in the AL only.

3 years 9 months ago

I agree! However I liked what I heard someone say about during interleague play AL teams will use the pitcher while at home to hit and NL teams would use the DH when at home. This would give fans of each league the chance to see the other in their stadium

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

I brought that up awhile back on here. Reactions were mixed.  It was actually TLR that was the first I heard suggest it and I thought it was a pretty good idea.

3 years 9 months ago

I disagree. It needs to be the same for each league.

LuisSantoyo
3 years 9 months ago

What if we don’t want to see the ladies in the AL infect our stadium with their garbage rules?

3 years 9 months ago

I agree! However I liked what I heard someone say about during interleague play AL teams will use the pitcher while at home to hit and NL teams would use the DH when at home. This would give fans of each league the chance to see the other in their stadium

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

I love the integrity of MLB. A discount for moving leagues… Maybe the new owner of the Dodgers can use a 10% off coupon for his purchase.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Of what, Matt Kemp?

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

Of what, Matt Kemp?

Madman2TX
3 years 9 months ago

I love the integrity of MLB. A discount for moving leagues… Maybe the new owner of the Dodgers can use a 10% off coupon for his purchase.

Quacktastic_Duck
3 years 9 months ago

Really would have made a lot more sense to move the Diamondbacks (for example) to the AL West and shift the Astros to the NL West. That way you don’t have rivalry in such a confined area and it’d be more like the cities of Chicago or New York. Best of luck on scheduling. 

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“That way you don’t have rivalry in such a confined area and it’d be more like the cities of Chicago or New York.”

Houston to Arlington is a whopping 45 miles less of a distance than Boston to the Bronx. And LA to San Diego is less than half the distance of either.

It’s not exactly a confined area.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“That way you don’t have rivalry in such a confined area and it’d be more like the cities of Chicago or New York.”

Houston to Arlington is a whopping 45 miles less of a distance than Boston to the Bronx. And LA to San Diego is less than half the distance of either.

It’s not exactly a confined area.

Quacktastic_Duck
3 years 9 months ago

Really would have made a lot more sense to move the Diamondbacks (for example) to the AL West and shift the Astros to the NL West. That way you don’t have rivalry in such a confined area and it’d be more like the cities of Chicago or New York. Best of luck on scheduling.