Lance Berkman told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that he thinks Bud Selig extorted new Astros owner Jim Crane into moving the team to the AL next season. "I think that's exactly what it was," said the former 'Stro. "To tell [Crane], 'We're going to hold the sale of the team up until you guys agreed to switch?' It just happened that the Astros were being sold at an optimal time for that to happen."
Conspiracy theories aside, here's the latest from around the league…
- Jeff Francis can opt out of his minor league contract with the Reds on March 28th, but he told reporters (including John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer) that he will report to Triple-A if he doesn't make the team.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki hears that the Phillies have been looking for infield help lately, but no one seems to be a clear upgrade over Freddy Galvis. The Phightin's lost utility man Michael Martinez due to a broken bone in his foot today.
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com wrote about all of the Athletics roster turnover. "You do know your time is limited here," said Brandon McCarthy. "You're not looking to put down roots."
- Joe Torre is waiting to see what happens with the Dodgers' ownership situation before returning to his old job at MLB, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Torre's group bowed out of the bidding because of the parking situation at Dodger Stadium.
- “I think that we as a franchise have a chance to go through sort of an evolutionary process to get us back to where we want to be,” said Mets GM Sandy Alderson to Andrew Keh of The New York Times in the wake of the team's recent financial moves. "From just an overall, organization standpoint, the landscape today is a lot brighter than it was two or three days ago, going into a potential three-week trial."