McLane Confirms Astros Will Move To AL West In 2013

Drayton McLane confirmed to reporters, including Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link), that the Astros will be moving to the American League West for 2013. McLane added that the Astros' sale is on the agenda for the owners' meetings tomorrow, at which point Jim Crane is expected to be approved as the team's new owner.

More links on the Astros and the rest of the clubs they'll compete with in the NL Central for one more year:

  • McLane said he's "kind of sad" to be moving on, but that the Astros will have a "very good" owner in Crane, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball told Crane it wouldn't approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the AL.
  • The Reds "made good progress" with Brandon Phillips' agent today, though no long-term deal is imminent yet, tweets Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  •'s Carrie Muskat has the latest details on the Cubs' managerial search.

89 Responses to McLane Confirms Astros Will Move To AL West In 2013 Leave a Reply

  1. cbcbcb 4 years ago

    I hate this new format where you talk about other teams and players under specific headlines

    • Devern Hansack 4 years ago

      Agreed. They should either be mentioned in the headline (i.e. Astros notes) or in separate articles.

    • Bob George 4 years ago

      Agree, at least put the team names in the headline: NL Central Notes: Astros, Cubs, Reds.

    • No I like this way.

  2. monty4aloha 4 years ago

    I would do it for &70mm too…

  3. Lastings 4 years ago

    This will make the AL West much more competitive now that the division is balanced with baseball’s worst team.

  4. HummBaby 4 years ago

    I’m not an Astro’s fan but I never understood why Selig’s beloved, family owned Brewers don’t go back to where they originally came from….the AL.

    • bpot92 4 years ago

      because it will be easiest to force a new owner to do so

    • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

      How does “Because the Brewers collect an awful lot of dough when they host the nearby Cubs 8 to 9 times a year.” sound?

      • Cubs aren’t the only nearby team.  There is the White Sox and Twins that would both travel well to that park.

        • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

          I think the equation “9 x Cubs fan revenue > 9 x White Sox fan revenue + 9 x Twins fan revenue” holds true in just about any year except for the rare season in which the White Sox and Twins are both contenders late in the season. The Cubs are just a more certain drawing card. Win or lose, they draw fans to out of town ballparks.

        • MilwaukeeBravesFan 4 years ago

          Having grown up in Milwaukee, I can honestly say there’s always been very little rivalry between the Sox and the Brewers… in fact a lot of Braves fans became Sox fans from ’66-’70, when there was no MLB team.  

    • Eugene_in_Oregon 4 years ago

      As a kid I was an Astros fan and I can’t imagine them in the AL.  They may not have the history and mystique of some older NL clubs, but it’s still a sad day for the franchise, the fans, and the NL.  The Brewers should have been sent back whence they came.

      • Crucisnh 4 years ago

        No, this was the right choice to make.  But I personally hate the idea of the 15/15 alignment.  I happen to believe that they should have left things as is.

    • Crucisnh 4 years ago

      Because it makes more sense to send the Astros to the AL.  The NL Central is more of a “north central” division.  Sending the Astros to the ALW only requires a single move, whereas moving most any other team would require 2 teams to change divisions.

  5. davengmusic 4 years ago

    nothing, and i mean NOTHING has gone right for the houston astros since gerry hunsicker was shown the door.  i don’t even care that they lucked into a world series in 05.  drayton mclane single-handedly ruined a promising franchise.  i refused to go to a single game since 09 until he sold the club.  now that the club is sold, the astros are going to the american league, where the art of managerial strategy is lost due to the DH (larussa completely outmanaged ron washington as evidence), and i have to stay up til midnight to finish a west-coast game, since the west apparently consists of two time zones, the only division that does something so ridiculous.

    thanks to drayton mclane and bud selig, i am no longer a fan of baseball.  

    • Now that you are no longer a fan of baseball, and will no longer be writing long messages on baseball forums, how will you spend your free time?

    • Crucisnh 4 years ago

      I’d rather watch baseball players playing than managers managing.

  6. Edgar4evar 4 years ago

    The Mariners welcome their division’s new basement dwellers. They were getting really tired of living down there. Don’t step in the moose poo.

    • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

      Hey, wait a minute. It’s all relative. The Mariners went 24-47 in the second half, while the Astros went 26-44 (against different competition, yes). The Astros have won 132 games in the last two seasons, whereas the Mariners have won but 128. Are you 100% sure that your ballclub isn’t worse? How about come 2013? Would you bet your either of your testicles on it, today? Or perhaps even King Felix’s right ulnar collateral ligament?

      • Edgar4evar 4 years ago

        Since there’s zero chance you will (or will even want to) collect, sure! The AL is a tougher league. Just look at the interleague standings. The Astros were worse in pythagorean based on their RS/RA. The Astros are going to finish behind the Mariners in 2012. I’m not going to bet on 2013…I’m stupid but not crazy. But yeah, the M’s will still be better.

        • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

          So you believe that even with the Astros playing an inferior NL-biased schedule in 2012, the Mariners will still win more games? No testicles at stake here, just something to chuckle back on come next October.

      • bacboris 4 years ago

        Sir, I say this with a lot of deference but no one will be worse than the Astros next year, not even the Orioles. That team couldn’t hack it in the NL and has no farm or Front Office talent to speak of. Now I never bet my testicles on anything but I would take this wager over anything else in Major League Sports.

        • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

          I assume that you haven’t seen the Twins lately?

    • BrickTops 4 years ago

      Dude you are retarded to think this is good for the Ms. Houston is in a phase right now of rebuilding. You think that will last forever like the Ms. Get real, Houston is a massive city, and a massive market. Only nieeve fools believe the 4th largest city is going to be a 50 mil payroll team forever. Give it 3-5 years max and Houston will be leading that division. Look at there history prior to signing Carlos lee and Woody Williams.

      • “Give it 3-5 years max and Houston will be leading that division.”

        I think the Texas Rangers will have something to say about that.

        The Astros have no farm system AND no talent on their current team to trade for any prospects…don’t even think for a second that they have a shot to compete with the Rangers, Angels, and even the A’s and Mariners.

        • BrickTops 4 years ago

          No farm? I bet you it will rank in the Top half in the next rankings. Also you forget the draft that they are about to have. Texas is headed right where the Astros are. Spend all your money and prospects on overpaid vets and you will have to rebuild.

          • lol so we’ve spent all of our money and traded all of our prospects? Whatever makes you fell better.

  7. richardb21 4 years ago

    Why Selig hates the Astros I’ll never know. First he won’t let them close the roof during the 05 World Series, then he made them move a home series against the Cubs to MIL after Hurricane Ike and now he hurts their fans by ending 50 years of history. The only losers here are the Astros fans.

  8. Just 1 less team in the National League with horrible uniforms.

  9. lefty177 4 years ago

    So the Rangers & Angels are gonna be fighting for the lead in the AL West, Mariners & Astros will be fighting for last/2nd last in the AL West, & the Athletics will just sit back & watch both fights go down

  10. nostocksjustbonds 4 years ago

    30 interleague games a year? this move makes no sense…so, of course, Selig is for it.

    • Jeff 4 years ago

      I’m just glad balanced schedules will be coming back.  2012 is going to shaft the Braves with their schedule compared to the Phillies.  (to be fair, 2011 was in the Braves benefit, but they couldn’t capitalize)

  11. Backup_Slider 4 years ago

    MLB is seriously mishandling the Astros jump to the American League from a public relations standpoint. Rather than calling the $70ish million a “discount” they should be calling it a “relocation transfer bonus” that is independent of the team’s sale price. Ultimately, the Houston front office could be seen as spending or even publicly earmarking portions its bonus for specific areas over the course of the next few seasons in order to rejuvenate the franchise. And all of that money should be coming directly from MLB and perhaps the players association; none of it should be coming from the former owner McLane because it isn’t McLane that’s asking the Astros to switch leagues. The fans there also need to see something more concrete than just money coming from the league – if they were getting draft picks (like a supplemental first round pick in the next x number of MLB drafts) the fans would be able to see an actual human prospect that came into the system directly because of the relocation and only because of the relocation. If one of those picks panned out to be an elite ballplayer there would be an actual positive for the team to point to in terms of why the move had actually been worth it in hindsight, at least in some respects at the expense of tossing aside a chunk of its history.

    Over the long run, something along the lines of the above would be a bit easier for the disgruntled subgroup of the Houston fanbase to swallow. Instead, MLB is going with astonishingly stupid approach of simply knocking millions of dollar off the sale price (perhaps ultimately devaluing the other 29 franchises) and being seen as forcing the next owner of the Astros to accept the relocation or take a hike. It is no surprise to me as public relations has typically been a disaster area during Selig’s tenure.

    • cyberboo 4 years ago

      Now the fans in Houston are seeing how the fans in Seattle (Pilots) Brooklyn (Dodgers), New York (Giants) Washington (Senators) Montreal (Expo’s) felt when they lost those teams completely.  Fortunately for Houston, their fifty years of history continues in Houston, only in a different division and league.  For the fans of the other teams, their hopes, past history, and dreams were dashed completely when their teams were moved into new cities.  Instead of complaining that the Astros are so bad, feel fortunate that the Astros still exist in Houston.  In the AL, they will now have the benefit of seeing many of the top teams in baseball that the fans weren’t allowed to see previously.  That is how the fans in Milwaukee reacted when the Brewers moved to the NL central.  For many fans, they had the benefit of not only seeing hall of famers play in the AL, but they also watched hall of famers in person from the NL.  It was the best of both worlds and Houston can now rise from the ashes and take over the AL west, by simply beating Texas, the Angels, Oakland, and the Mariners. 

      • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

        I’m neither a member of that disgruntled segment of the fanbase (most of them are 50 and over) nor a particular opponent of the move to the AL. Some of them have likened this situation to when the Oilers bolted for Tennessee, but I just don’t see that analogy as valid. What you described and the Oilers’ (Browns’) scenarios are far worse outcomes for a sports franchise. To this day I can’t see how a Texans’ (Browns’) fan who formerly supported the Oilers (Browns) can support the NFL team currently in their town; in both cases the league was just as culpable in uprooting the franchise as the then-owners were. The “here’s a new expansion team in a couple years” proposition isn’t a fair trade in my book. Getting back to my post above, the NFL’s just a whole lot smarter about how it handles and spins those kind of situations than MLB is.

  12. As a Mets fan i will be sad to see the Astros go to the AL.We played in the greatest LCS ever back in 86.Good luck in the AL.Lets Go Mets

  13. Terrible decision. Why have two Texas teams, both of which are in the Central Time Zone, in a western division? Here’s what you do:

    1. Move the Miami Marlins to AL East (so Cubs can beat them in 2015)
    2. Move the Toronto Blue Jays to the AL Central
    3. Move the Pittsburgh Pirates to NL East
    4. Move the Kansas City Royals to the AL West

    • WrigleyTerror37 4 years ago

      Love step 1. then Back to the Future will be right!!!

    • Crucisnh 4 years ago

      Good grief.  You explained why it was a GOOD idea to have both Texas teams in the AL West … because they’re both in the Central TZ … which means that at least they will have some in-division games that aren’t 2 TZ’s away.

      As for your 4 ideas…

      A. If having 2 Texas teams in the same division is so bad, why is having both Florida teams in the same division good?  You’re such a hypocrite.

      B. And, so, instead of moving one team to create the 15/15 balance, you want to move FOUR teams?  Pitiful.

      • Please re-read my comment. My complaint was that both Texas teams will be in WESTERN divisions. I don’t care that they’re both in the same one. I care that they’re going to be in a division that’s not even remotely suitable location-wise. Texas is a central state.

        I’ll accept the apology for calling me a hypocrite in kind.

        • Crucisnh 4 years ago

          Sorry, I misread that part of the post.  However, I won’t apologize for the rest because your comments implied that they should be in the same division, even if it’s a central TZ division.

          Furthermore, note that there’s not really much that can be done to alleviate the problem of the AL West with the league alignment as is because there just aren’t enough pacific or rocky mountain TZ teams to support 2 such divisions.  Sure, MLB could move the Rockies or Dbacks to the AL West to give it 5 such teams, but then the NL West would be short 1 PST or RST team.

          MLB did the best they could without a more radical re-alignment.

    • Its no longer next year will be the year, its the year after the year after next year will be the year before the year?

  14. I will never forgive Selig for this.  There is something to be said for the art of managing in the NL.  What do AL managers have to worry about?  When to put their relief pitcher in aaaannddd what else?  There is beauty in the imperfections of the game, even so much as to have uneven divisions within the leagues.  Does a 50+ years history and tradition mean nothing anymore?  Crane gets a 70 million dollar discount?  That helps us fans out how?  What are we going to see out of this besides later games and a fictional rivalry between us and the Rangers?  The MLB front office has betrayed the fans of Houston in ways that many are going to see as unforgivable.

    • I find it difficult at times to compare the increased managerial strategy of the NL (which I certainly find interesting and entertaining when I get to watch it) to the increased pitching strategy of facing a potent hitter instead of a dud every time through the line up, not to mention when they practically skip two spaces in the batting order by walking number 8 to get to the pitcher.

    • Crucisnh 4 years ago

      1. Yes, there is something to be said for the art of managing.  It’s effing BORING!!!

      2. Crane gets the discount because he signed up to buy an NL team, not an AL team.

      3. All rivalries are fictional initially. The Rangers will be more of a rival than any team in the NL has ever been.

    • cyberboo 4 years ago

      If you have ever watched Joe Maddon manage the Rays, you wouldn’t have made your statement.  I was hoping for Maddon against LaRussa and see which one comes out on top, because Maddon makes 2/3’s of the NL managers look like rookies.  Houston will now have a chance to see him manage against them.  If you thought LaRussa pulled strings, you haven’t seen anything yet. 

      When it comes to the rest of your post, cry me a river, because you at least still have the Astros and their fifty years of history.  Tell that to the fans that lost their teams completely to other cities and dashed the dreams of millions of fans, not just those in one city.

      • Seriously, they act as if the Astros aren’t in Houston anymore. Get over it people! All you’re losing is getting to watch Wandy bat. If anything you all should be happy…you get to pull Carlos Lee’s fat self out of right field and tag him as the DH.

      • Jeff 4 years ago

        I’m a big fan of Maddon and would lose to see him in the NL.  That said, I think there is an argument that NL has no-brainer decisions like PH’ing for your pitcher late.

        I think the big difference is that NL teams have to use all of their roster more, so benches mean more in the NL.  I prefer the NL style for that reason, but I can see the counter-argument more then I could a year ago.

    • It’s not like they’re re-locating the Astros. Get a grip!

  15. Pete 4 years ago

    They should just have the A’s, Angels, Giants, Dodgers and Padres in one glorious “California” division, lol

    Or they should just not have divisions at all. 

    And they should have each team play each team 6 times at home and 6 times away. 14×12=168. Adding 6 games can be done easily. 

    And they should only let the top 4 teams play in the playoffs. We have the biggest sample scale in sports, adding more teams to the playoffs makes that irrelevant and we might as well play like 50 games and then have playoffs for like 3 months. If we keep it simple, if each team played every other team in the league the same amount of times at home and away, we would have the legitimate best teams in the playoffs, unlike we do now where teams “get lucky with interleague” and beat down weak div rivals like 20 times a year. 

    Balance the schedule.
    Eliminate divisions altogether.
    Let every team play all the other teams in their league the same amount of times at home and away.

    And then MLB will finally be logical and reasonable. Because right now, its as far from that as it can be. This is Selig’s legacy along with waiting too long to address the steroids issue. Its a really really crappy one. I hope in my lifetime to see the game done right, but its a very slim hope.

    • Divisions need to be done away with because teams don’t play each other equally, but you still want to segregate them completely by AL and NL? Why?

      The playoffs need to be trimmed so only the best teams aren’t eliminated by lesser teams but you still want the championship decided over three seven game series? Why?

      The arguments for these changes logically carry on until there are no separate leagues and the team with the best record wins the championship, like most major soccer leagues I guess. What you’re suggesting isn’t a black and white change; it’s preferring one shade of grey over another, presumably because that’s the way it was in the good ol’ days. 

      *Reading this again it seems like I’m running wild with crazy ideas so continue at your peril.*

      You could have it both ways by running an elimination tournament concurrently with the season (is this how the FA cup works in the EPL?), leading to league champions and tournament champions. You could then:

      1. Have three champions: AL, NL, and Tournament champs

      2. Two champs: World Series champ (winner of AL vs NL champs) and Tournament champ

      3. Two champs: League champion (of merged AL and NL) and Tournament champ

      4. One champ: League champion vs Tournament champ (or even treat this as a third “ultimate” championship or, in the opposite direction, more of an exhibition like the All-Star game)

    • Crucisnh 4 years ago

      Pete, I’ve said for a while that I think that baseball should completely junk the current league alignment and go to a totally geographical alignment, with an Eastern league and a Western league (and 2 divisions per league).  The dividing line would be the mississippi river (and the 2 Chicago teams would be in the western league, though the idea would work ok with them both in the eastern league as well).  Then create 4 divisions: Atlantic and Mideast divs for the eastern league, and Midwest and Pacific divs for the western league.  And with this layout, the pacific division would contain all of the CA teams, plus the Mariners and the D-backs.

      The advantages here are that in-division away games would almost always be within 1 TZ of the home city, and usually in the same TZ.  This would greatly enhance away game viewership and TV revenues.  It’d also lower travel costs.

      The playoffs in my model would be 2 division winners and 2 wildcards.  I’m not a supporter of the balanced schedule because one of the purposes of the unbalanced schedule is to reduce travel costs by keeping teams playing closer to home.  That said, with this alignment, travel costs would already be lower, so a balanced schedule might be less objectionable cost-wise.

  16. Astros go to the AL
    Ed Wade stays in the NL
    I hope he’s fired once the sale goes thru!

  17. Tacho Bill 4 years ago

    Great, the Astros were the only thing keeping the Pirates out of the cellar in the NL Central.

  18. essmeier 4 years ago

    Bud Selig never misses an opportunity to make the game of baseball worse.

  19. now the angels/rangers can beat up on another crappy team more often… does this mean they can get an inflated win total like the you-know-whos in the AL east?

    • Minorityfanbasewannabe 4 years ago

      Ya because playing against three winning teams (and understatement) and one losing team inflates win totals a lot.

    • The AL West also has some of the best pitching in baseball.

  20. Fizzzay 4 years ago

    It’s a shame the Astros had to move, but as a selfish Brewer fan I’m glad it’s not us.  I want nothing to do with the DH.  

  21. Joseph Jonathan Herrera 4 years ago

    There goes my dream of an all Texas World Series lol  Maybe this year then!

  22. Hoosierdaddy92 4 years ago

    This is dumb that there are going to be two teams in Texas in the AL. The Diamondbacks should have moved to the AL West and Houston to the NL West. That would have actually made the AL West an interesting division.

    • So what is your opinion on 3 teams in California being in the NL?

      • Hoosierdaddy92 4 years ago

        …There’s also 2 AL teams in California so it doesn’t bother me.

  23. Beavis De Beppo 4 years ago

    If you’re going to have divisions, they might as well be equal.  How fair is it that the Rangers only had to beat three other teams to make the playoffs and the Brewers had to beat five?

    • Yea, because the Reds, Cubs, Pirates, and Astros really held the Brewers down, right?

      • setupunchtag 4 years ago

        It’s not about that. It’s about teams in the West only having to be better each year than 3 opponents, while those in the NL Central have had to be better than 5 other teams. Yeah, there’s likely to be a couple of down teams each year, but there’s also a much better chance that 2 or 3 teams are playing well.

  24. baseballbill77 4 years ago

    I live in Seattle and welcome the Astros to the AL West.  I love NL Rules and wish the Mariners were somehow in the NL.  Anyway, It’ll be nice to see a new team here and hopefully in a few years the Astros will be entertaining to watch.  Because the move makes the Mariners travel schedule worse, it probably would have made more sense to somehow get the Royals to change leagues.  The Mariners already travel more than any team in baseball. 

  25. harmony55 4 years ago

    The Seattle Mariners, who already have baseball’s toughest travel schedule, will now travel two times zones away to Texas for 18 games each year at venues located closer to Boston than to Seattle.

  26. PDR297 4 years ago

    I refuse to follow an AL team. I have been an Astros fan for over 20 years and always a fan of National League baseball. This move is not only a gross over step of Bud Selig’s power but also a depressing move towards tarnishing the fans view of what has been the most professionally handled sport. 

    • cyberboo 4 years ago

      The first mistake was creating three divisions instead of two divisions in each league.  The second mistake was moving Milwaukee out of the AL and putting them in the NL.  Now they want to move Houston back to the AL, so it puts 15 teams in each league again.  If they didn’t make the mistake of points 1 and 2, Houston fans wouldn’t have anything to complain about.  Perhaps Selig can move the Phillies to the AL, or Atlanta, the Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals, or Cubs.  Would that make the fans in Houston happier or would it make the fans in those cities angry with the move?  Regardless which team moves, you will have fans that aren’t happy about it, which brings me back to points one and two again.

      • Gunner65 4 years ago

        Agreed, some team’s fans were going to get the shaft in this deal. If you step back though and look at the big picture, in 10 years everyone will have gotten use to the idea of their team in a new league just like the Brewers fans did when they moved. I kind of like the Crews rivalry with the Reds … they’ve had some pretty entertaining series over the last couple of seasons and both should be pretty competitive teams going forward with the rosters they have. Once the Stros have had time to rebuild their farm system and get competitive again, they could have a very similar rivalry with the Rangers. I feel for them also though because I to am a NL guy & hate the DH. 

        • Jeff 4 years ago

          That’s the real problem-  Baseball needs one unified rulebook.

          DH or no DH, should be up to fans vote.

  27. coolstorybro222 4 years ago

    Now the M’s can silently high five themselves because in 2 years they will be not the worst team in the AL west. 

    • BrickTops 4 years ago

      Yes they will.  Houston is almost 4 times the size of Seattle and that Market attracts much better player then the Mariners. Lol this is laughable

  28. philsfan5858 4 years ago

    Sad to see the Phillies AAAA farm team leave the NL.

  29. Gunner65 4 years ago

    Hopefully Phillips gets no more than 3 years with a 4th year option. With the way many players are declining as they get into their mid 30’s, it just doesn’t make financial sense for lengthy contracts for guys his age.

  30. I’m just curious, does this mean that the Rangers will finally be moved from the AL West like they were promised?  If not, why don’t they get any cash compensation for being hosed by MLB like the Astros have been?

  31. Gumby65 4 years ago

    …and one McDork* to go.

    *While many variations of the real name have been used, I prefer an un-printable one.

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