Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is smart man. In his own words, he “didn’t make $100 million by making a lot of dumb mistakes”. Crane put $100 million of his own money into the Astros back in 2011 when he led an ownership group that purchased the club for $615 million. The Astros were a 56-win team in 2011, featuring a roster comprised of veterans on their way out and a lacklustre farm system.
Flash forward to 2013: the Astros are locked in to a rebuilding plan that is ostensibly writing off the present in favour of the future. With a payroll that’s set to check in at around $25 million, the lowest in Major League Baseball, Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow are sticking to their plan regardless of what fans and/or pundits believe is the best direction for the club.
As the Astros prepare to open up their first season as an American League team, Crane is putting to bed any hopes for a sudden influx of cash to invest in recognizable baseball names:
Crane, via The Wall Street Journal:
“We want to build a product that’s consistent, and the only way we can do that is the way we’re doing it,” Astros owner Jim Crane said. “If people want to complain about it, they have a right to complain about it. But we’re going to stick with the plan.”
Furthermore, Crane (somewhat jokingly?) is inviting disgruntled fans to pony up their own money if they’re not happy with the roster:
“It doesn’t bother me that people want us to spend more money,” Crane said. “But it’s not their money. This is a private company, even though it’s got a public flair to it. If they want to write a check for 10 million bucks, they can give me a call.”
It’s not all chest-thumping, though. Crane and co. realize that their plan is not without potential pitfalls: “We’re not going to get everything right, but we’re going to get a lot right”.
With that, the Houston Astros appear primed to take their licks in the tough American League West in the short-term. While their rebuild has been intriguing to this point, its success can only be measured by results. We’ll see you in 2-3 years, Astros.