Houston Astros owner Jim Crane reiterated at the team's caravan stop Monday that his long-term vision is to own all of the Astros' minor league affiliates after he purchased Double-A Corpus Christi late last season.
The RedHawks are owned by Mandalay Baseball Properties, which runs five minor league teams. The Astros/RedHawks contract expires following the upcoming season.
Crane still envisions a Triple-A ballpark in the suburbs north of Houston. But since there are no immediate plans to construct a Triple-A stadium, will the Astros sign a two-year extension with the RedHawks?
“These guys here have done a great job for us,” Crane said. “We may extend the contract. Right now we don't have a place to go. We have to look at where we'll be next year. We very well could extend here.”
The RedHawks will always play at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. It's simply a matter of which Major League Baseball team they're affiliated with. The Astros filled the void when the Rangers ended a 28-year relationship in 2009.
“We've made it clear as an organization we'd like to own our Triple-A team, but right now there's nothing in the works,” Crane said. “Our team is here ... We like this market. This is a great ballpark and these folks (Mandalay) do a great job.”
Crane's primary focus is the upcoming season in Houston. The Astros are coming off three consecutive 100-loss seasons, but there are signs better days are ahead.
When he purchased the Astros following the 2011 season, Crane inherited a 106-loss team. The minor league system was the worst in baseball. He hired Jeff Luhnow from the Cardinals organization to be the general manager who orchestrated the rebuilding project.
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