Selig: Astros' Move To AL Was Only "Logical Choice" For MLB; Sold On Rebuilding Process
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday said that he "fully understands" Astros fans' complaints, but the “only ‘logical choice’ for baseball was to relocate the Astros to the AL,” according to Brian Smith of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Selig "believes fans won't question the move five years from now." Smith noted the team agreed to relocate after Owner Jim Crane purchased the club in November ’11, and since the deal, the Astros “often have said in news releases that the relocation was mandated by MLB.” Selig said that the “primary reason” for the move “came down to simple geography.” With the Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, Pirates and Cubs in the NL Central, the Astros were “the odd team out.” Selig said those four teams have "tremendous" rivalries. He added that the Astros “did not” because of “their isolation.” Selig: “We had to move a team, and ... the fact of the matter is when you looked at all the other things that could happen, the only logical thing was for Houston to move.” Selig also is “sold on the rebuilding Astros.” The team is “expected to enter 2013 with an MLB-low” $25M payroll. Selig said that neither he nor MLB “has a problem” with the payroll. Selig: “I do trust the organization. Look, every organization goes through certain phases. They have chosen the path with some very qualified people. And the only way you can really build a solid organization, a solid team, is through a very productive farm system. And I think they're doing it the right way” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/27).
DON'T GO THERE: ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote it is "a bad idea for anybody within the institution of baseball to endorse 'getting good draft choices' as a good thing." To make roster decisions to "foster a worse record and better draft placement is really dangerous, because what it boils down to is this: It's a strategy to lose." Rival execs privately "really like what the Astros are doing, in stripping down the organization and rebuilding from the ground up." But there is "queasiness about the question of whether Houston is angling for better draft picks, in fielding a team onwhich the highest-paid player," P Bud Norris, is set to make $3M. It would be a "really, really bad thing for baseball if some team made a concerted effort to lose games and then was rewarded for that" (ESPN.com, 3/27).
WE COOL? In Houston, David Barron reported former Astros broadcaster Larry Dierker “after an hour-long meeting with” Crane said “everything is fine” between them. Dierker said that while he “will not have a contract for the 2013 season, he is willing to make limited appearances on a voluntary basis as his schedule allows and will revisit his association with the team after the season.” Dierker: “I’m willing to do some things for them. If they need some help and reach out to me and I’m going to be here, I’ll do it.” Dierker said that he “explained to Crane that while he is not interested in studio work on Comcast SportsNet Houston, he would like a chance to return to game broadcasts if circumstances warrant” (HOUSTONCHRONICLE.com, 3/27).