Turns Out, Jim Crane May Own an AL West Team After All ... the Houston Astros. Wha?

The Houston Astros are this close to being sold, as Drayton McLane is set to sell the franchise to Jim Crane for $660 million, pending league approval. (And, yes, that's the same Jim Crane who tried to buy the Texas Rangers out of bankruptcy last year.) The deal's expected to be done in a matter of weeks -- no later than November's end, according to most accounts. And, per the account on the Astros' website on Monday night, "MLB reportedly has asked Crane to agree to move the Astros to the American League if he is approved." Which McLane opposes for myriad reasons, chief among them late West Coast start times.

But now, there's this: Peter Gammons, heard weekly on with the morning Musers, tweeted a few hours back that when the sale goes through, it will indeed involve the Astros moving to the American League. And now everyone assumes that because there are only four teams in the American League West -- Texas, Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim -- Houston will land in the AL West. Says CBS Sports: "Moving the Astros to the AL West makes sense, and they would have a natural division rivalry with the Texas Rangers -- albeit very lopsided in the present."

Turns out, there's one guy quite excited about this possible move: Rangers president and former Astro Nolan Ryan. Per MLB's account, it's just good for business:

That would intensify the in-state rivalry between the Astros and Rangers, who would then play each other 18 times a year during the regular season. The AL West currently has only four teams, while the NL Central has six.

"When [the Astros] get competitive again, it will be a natural rivalry," Ryan said. "It would be good for baseball and Texas to have teams in the same state vying for the lead in the [AL] West."

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