Quick Hits: Francis, Phillies, Athletics, Torre, Mets

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."


43 Responses to Quick Hits: Francis, Phillies, Athletics, Torre, Mets Leave a Reply

  1. The Phillies are phalling apart

  2. We would Francis not look for another deal? Another team must want him

  3. As a ‘Stros fan who hates the cardinals, I love Lance Berkman

  4. Berkman should have spoke up sooner. Guess he realized he won’t be playing any more home town road games in Houston after this season. I hate Selig, 9pm baseball games will be unwatchable. Who wants to play against the A’s or M’s? YAWN

    • BarrelMan 3 years ago

      Don’t forget those games that will be in the Eastern time zone along with the Central one and games in Houston itself.

      • James W. 3 years ago

        the division has three teams in the pacific time zone. so your looking at least 30 games played on the west coast. which means a 9pm start time in houston

        • BarrelMan 3 years ago

          Yep, I realize that’s a pain, it’s just that it’s so few games overall.

  5. I rather have Glavis start at second over martinez anyway, though he obviously would have been a useful back up. But Glavis has a better glove and I bet he would put up better numbers than martinez as well.

    • I’m not sure if Glavis will get the start, I’m thinking it will be Galvis.

    • Galvis is the starter at 2b. The “problem” is a back up ss. Right now on your projected roster Galvis is the backup there as well. And Galvis is gonna struggle a bit with the bat, at least this at times. I imagine Orr makes the team now as the backup 2b/3b and goes down to AAA when Utley comes back.

  6. Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

    There’s plenty of guys out there that are an upgrade over Martinez though…

    • Such as?

      • Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

         Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo for starters… basically anybody who’s going to obp over .300 and not make careless errors.

        • When you say “out there”, I assumed you meant free agents.

          If Rube were to make a trade now, coming from a position of weakness, he would get bent over, badly, by the Angels. 

  7. sourbob 3 years ago

    They decided they didn’t want to own one of the oldest, most storied (and potentially profitable) franchises in all of baseball because of parking?

    • jebmotherboard 3 years ago

      There are 16000 parking spaces at Dodger Stadium, they charge $15 to park, and play 81 home games.  That comes to a potential $19.44M in revenue that would be going to McCourt instead of the team.  That’s money that should be used to do things like keep Clayton Kershaw there long term. That’s why the parking situation killed their interest.

      • It amazes me how many people still beleive the goal for the owners is to put the best team on the field.  The true goal of any ownership group is to make money.  You can bet that parking revenue would still be pocketed by the owners, no matter who it is.

  8. Madman2TX 3 years ago

    I know I’m not supposed to bash players here, so all I’ll say is that Berkman sure seems to like hearing himself talk.

  9. nice post, thanks for sharing

  10. I’m not sure if Glavis will get the start, I’m thinking it will be Galvis.

  11. James W. 3 years ago

    Lance Berkman is correct in what he is saying.
    The sale of the Astros was supposed to have been voted on Last August, and when Crane told Selig no on the move to the American League, all of a sudden the vote was pulled, and supposedly MLB needed to do more investigations into Crane and a couple of minority owners.
    Fast Forward to a November deadline to buy the team or the sale was off, and since Crane wanted to own a team so bad, he said okay..

    Not many Astros fans are okay with this and Selig claims that he understands and values history of the game.. Yet when you look back the astros have been around since 1962, and Houston was the minor league team for St. Louis back to the 1920s, so this is almost 100 years of Houston having ties to NL Baseball.

    Those I feel sorry for are those who are fans of NL baseball, other NL teams besides Houston who would go to Houston when their favorite team came to play. Now because of this, they have to go to St. Louis, Denver or Atlanta to see their teams play. Not exactly a three hour drive…  and in this economy.. please ! ! !

    I live just outside of Dallas, and I liked it that I could drive Four hours down the interstate and go see National League players and teams in Houston, now if I want to do that, Denver or St. Louis is a 12 hour drive

  12. I love Lance Berkman, but I’m not gonna start painting him as a genius for coming to this amazing revelation.  Everyone knew that when the sale went down 5 months ago.  Personally, I think this will be good for the astros because they have a local rivalry now.  It’s definately better for baseball in general to finally have even divisions.  That’s not to say I think Selig is a good commissioner.  Other than this, I would say he’s destroyed a lot of the things in baseball that I considered great.

  13. Stuartsmith1988 3 years ago

    Phillies take Chone Figgans, M’s get Joe Blanton. Make it happen

  14. What about the Dodgers moving to the AL West? they are being “sold” too and low and behold they are on the West coast! NL Central, no other team is more Central than Houston. Nobody here wants to stay up till 1am watching ball-games. Too many Cub and Cardinal fans live and watch games in Houston what about them?

    • jb226 3 years ago

      It still doesn’t solve the problem.  The NL Central still has too many teams, which means you have to move somebody, and you just created a hole in the NL West.  Obvious solution?  Astros to the NL West.  What did you change other than moving two teams instead of one?  (“No team is more Central than Houston” takes the cake for the lamest argument I’ve seen in the debate, by the way.  Stick to arguing time differentials, it’s at least compelling.)

  15. BarrelMan 3 years ago

    This isn’t the Brewers’ fault. People need to get off their case. The Brewers switched over ten years ago and now that the Astros are being sold the Brewers are supposed to switch back? That’s ludicrous. I don’t like what the Astros are having to endure but seriously the Brewers have nothing to do with it.

    Selig has made plenty of mistakes but to slag him off completely is foolish. I won’t even comment on Berkman because I’ll be censored.

  16. wolf9309 3 years ago

     wouldn’t the definition of extortion be convincing the previous ownership to raise the price by $50 million if he didn’t agree to switch?  Getting them to trim off $50 million sounds more like offering an incentive than it does like extortion

  17. jb226 3 years ago

    That’s not the definition of extortion at all.  Some form of bribery, perhaps, but not extortion.  Extortion is, as Berkman said, if Selig told them they’re moving to the AL or he’ll make sure they don’t buy the team.  That may or may not have happened; other than a general dislike of Bud Selig I don’t believe anybody has any evidence either way.  I can say that if I were in Crane’s position and somebody offered me $50MM to move to the AL, I’d have to find reasons not to do it — and that spoken as somebody who much prefers NL baseball.  I’d hesitate only because of the scheduling/time zone issues and a fear over the potential impact on revenues.

    Honestly, I think moving the Astros was the best choice.  It’s better that the leagues are even, at least with the unbalanced schedule, and the obvious candidate for a team to leave was the NL Central who mysteriously has more teams than any other division in the game.  Likewise the most logical place to add was the AL West which mysteriously has the fewest teams.  None of the Central teams are particularly GOOD choices, but the Astros were the least-bad.  They are the furthest west, they’re in big-time rebuilding mode (meaning the move won’t have serious near-term roster impact), and they don’t have any particularly strong rivalries in the division they’re leaving (versus, say, the Cardinals who I believe are the next furthest west).

    You could come up with a convoluted scheme where all sorts of teams switched divisions and even leagues and maybe end up with a better final solution, but the amount of disruption would be astronomically higher and there are serious issues involved with moving AL teams to the NL.  Even if you preferred something like moving an NL West team to the AL West and sliding the Astros to the NL West, it’s still twice the disruption and it doesn’t solve what I consider to be the most logical objection to the Astros’ switch: The time zone differential.

    The Astros were being sold, the buyer got a price break to make what is the simplest change.  Unless I’m missing some ridiculously simple solution I’d call this the best solution to the problem.

    That being said, some sort of much more serious re-alignment should definitely be considered, but that is not something that can’t be done in an offseason.  Going entirely division-less would be the easiest change but it’s still significant.  A more radical “let’s start over” approach to leagues and divisions is probably the best thing to do ultimately, but may never happen with all the owners you would have to get in a row.

  18. James W. 3 years ago

    no one is saying its the Brewers fault. However it was Selig who was still in control of the team when he (Selig) moved the brewers to the NL because each league at the time needed an even number teams. obviously before interleague play.
    The Astros have been in the NL longer than the brewers and have been in the NL Central longer than the brewers.

    Berkman is 100 percent correct in what he said.

  19. monty4aloha 3 years ago

    Berkman nor anyone else is bashing the Brewers>>>… I am glad someone like Berkman who is “Smarter” than Seleg has caused another look at this!! 

  20. Milwaukee also had a pretty fair team in the NL during the 1950s and 1960s.

  21. BarrelMan 3 years ago

    Yea the Astros have been in the NL longer, they’ve been in the NL longer than several teams. That doesn’t mean that ten years after the Brewers switched, at which point Selig no longer owns the team, that somehow Milwaukee should be forced to move back, into what, the AL West? The fact is the league is focused on a new interleague paradigm now.

  22. ellisburks 3 years ago

    That was the Braves franchise so it really isn’t relevant. 

  23. monty4aloha 3 years ago

    They moved..

  24. I appreciate the optimism, but the is right, they are falling apart.

    How come anyone who watched the playoffs last year could have easily told you that 3/4 of the infield (Howard, Utley, Polanco) was hurt or not 100%, yet the GM made no moves to compensate for the lack of health?  It is the first week of spring, and NOW they are looking for infield help?  Why was this not the offseason priority?

    Oh, that’s right, it was so much more important to get a one inning relief pitcher, and to sign Jim Thome, because that’s what gets Rube on the front page of the papers.  Managerial hubris at its finest..

  25. They have a $170 million payroll, and one healthy, productive infielder, who himself is 34.

    Instead of paying $50 million for a one-inning reliever, how about $33 million for a nine-inning, RH hitting 3B man who can pop 20+ HR like Aramis Ramirez?

    But thats not a “sexy” signing.

    You do not see a problem here?

  26. monty4aloha 3 years ago

    You are right thats how it went down…. But the new Astros owner really did not want to move… this was the only way they were going to approve him.

  27. BarrelMan 3 years ago

    If Berkman were smarter than Selig he’d chop off that mullet.

  28. monty4aloha 3 years ago

    I would say more like Ron Paul..I guess you don’t know much about him to make your claim…..he is not anything close to Beck or Ventura.

  29. stl_cards16 3 years ago

    He can keep the spot warm for Matt Adams to step in next year.

  30. wolf9309 3 years ago

     not semantics!  There’s a $100 million difference between the two.
    My understanding is that, with the approval of all the owners, MLB is paying that $50 million, not that he forced McLane to get $50 million less.  Which is a real difference.

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