Houston Astros owner: Fans can ‘write a check for $10 million’ if they want a better roster

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Yes, the Houston Astros have the smallest payroll in baseball. Yes, A-Rod will make more than their entire team this season. Yes, they're likely to lose the most games in 2013 (again).

And no, owner Jim Crane, doesn't plan on ponying up any more cash to appease fans upset at the team's frugal $25 million roster. In fact, he told the Wall Street Journal:

"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."

The Journal's story examined the economics of Houston's rebuilding effort — which, not to be confused with the Miami Marlins' throwing everything out the window, actually has supporters among the smartypantses of baseball.

We've heard much of what was in the story already: The Astros are OK with losing now to build for the future, to lay the foundation for a farm system that will feed the big-league team for years to come.

Crane, a financier who bought the team in 2011, points to his checking account and not the Astros whopping 213 losses the last two years as proof that he knows what he's doing:

"I didn't make $100 million by making a lot of dumb mistakes," Crane said. "We're not going to get everything right, but we're going to get a lot right."

All right then, Mr. Crane. He sounds two steps away from turning into the The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and giving fans 100-dollar bills to smell his toes.

Now that's something people would buy tickets to see.

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