At a transitional moment in the going-on-50-year history of the Houston franchise, the presumed new owner, Jim Crane, made one thing clear: The transition on the field for the worst team in the National League, which hours later fell to 15-26 with a 3-2 loss to the Braves, will not be hasty.
"There's only a certain amount of money you can spend," Crane said at Monday's gathering to assume control from Drayton McLane. "I can guarantee the partners in this room will not be happy writing checks every year. We will spend every dollar wisely. We will appreciate every dollar spent here."
Crane, backed by his group of at least 10 investors, signed the paperwork to complete the $680 million purchase of the Astros from McLane, who had owned the team since 1992. The deal is not official until Major League Baseball owners approve it at a currently unknown date this summer.
McLane bowed out after five non-playoff years that followed six postseason appearances in nine seasons -- the franchise's most successful run. In the recent years, though, the team has paid for the aging of superstars of the 1990s and early 2000s and next to nothing in the farm system to replace them.
Given the struggles in the farmland, still ranked one of baseball's worst by most publications, Crane is making it an emphasis for future building.
"Our style will be smart," Crane said. "I think it starts with the draft. We want to make sure we're building the team for the future. If you look at the model teams that have been successful for long periods of time, build it from the bottom. That will be the style when we start."
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