Astros' Crane Pledges To Spend On Payroll In Offseason, Says Spring Training Move Nearly Set
Astros Owner Jim Crane "promises to open up the purse strings this winter," according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Crane yesterday said, "Don’t lose the faith. We hit the bottom." He also "made a reference" to CSN Houston, "vowing to have the team’s games on TV next year." Crane "echoes the frustration of his team’s fans, acknowledging he was not pleased with his 51-111 record," and for the first time since purchasing the club in '11 "admits that the Astros must spend money to upgrade the club this winter." Ortiz noted the Astros had "the lowest payroll in the majors last season, starting with about $21 million for the 25-man roster on Opening Day and dipping to around $14 million after the trade deadline" (CHRON.com, 9/30). Meanwhile, Crane said that the team's efforts to "finalize a move of its Spring Training facility to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., from its longtime home in Kissimmee are '95 percent' completed, and they simply need a final vote by the city to approve the money." The Astros have been "working for months on the deal with the city and the state of Florida, which Crane says has already approved funds to keep the team in-state." Crane said that the Blue Jays, who will share the facility with the Astros, "recently signed a letter of intent." The "earliest the Astros could open their new spring facility" is '16. Crane: "That thing should be buttoned up hopefully by the end of October." Crane said that architects are "already working on a design, which would have to be approved by both teams." The Astros have trained in Kissimmee since '85 after moving from Cocoa Beach, Fla. (MLB.com, 9/30).