The Mirror is dropping all sorts of bombs today. First it was the news that Crystal Palace may have cheated their way to victory against Aston Villa. Now they're giving us a hint that whoever was behind the rumoured Aston Villa takeover may be the owner of a Major League Baseball franchise right now. If that's true, and if a takeover really does happen, it may be fantastic news for Aston Villa.
Aston Villa Takeover
Rumours swirl around nine-figure bid
It's getting harder and harder to ignore the rumours of a possible takeover of Aston Villa, and the numbers involved will make fans very happy.
Aston Villa Takeover
There are few leagues in sports as flush with cash as Major League Baseball. Huge television deals have become de rigueur for the league, and it has shown in the contracts being splashed around. Robinson Cano, one of the game's biggest stars, was signed for 10 years and $240 million this winter. That's £143 million, or £14.3 million per year in wages (remember, baseball doesn't have transfer fees). Alright, but that's for one of the biggest players in the league. The Cleveland Indians just signed Jason Kipnis -- an above average, but by no means world-beating player -- to 6 years, £31.28 million. Suffice it to say: baseball owner are literally just throwing money at athletes at this point.
So if it is a baseball owner who wants to invest in Aston Villa, the club could see a huge influx of cash with any purchase. We are used to thinking of high salary/transfer numbers in football, but compared to baseball it's nothing. Think of it this way: the rumoured selling price for Aston Villa was less than the cost of two Robinson Canos. An entire club for the price of two players. Yes, having a baseball owner could be huge.
And if you don't believe me, you've got to look no further than Liverpool. John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group are, first and foremost, owners of the Boston Red Sox. Look at all of the money they've pumped into the Reds and how much good it has done.
Now, if we combine the note from the Mirror with what had already been rumoured (to wit: that the takeover was coming from Texas) we can narrow it down to a few possible people. Sadly, this rules out Mark Cuban (who is absolutely crazy, but in a fun sort of way) as he owns an NBA franchise, not an MLB one.
That leaves us with the logical choices of the owners of the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros. The former is Ray Davis, who is valued by Forbes at $1.9 billion (£1.13 billion). He just took control of the team from president and baseball legend Nolan Ryan, and his ownership group has had phenomenal financial and sporting success with the Rangers.
The Astros are primarily owned by Jim Crane who is valued at approximately $2 billion (£1.19 billion). His ownership of the Astros has been marked with frugality backed by rigorous statistical logic. The Astros have been terrible for a long time now, but they are widely considered to be one of the smartest franchises in the sport. His ownership style would seem to jive with what Aston Villa have been working on lately: build a club cheaply and intelligently (all jokes about the "intelligence" of the current plan aside).
There is a bit of a damper in the Mirror's story, though, as they claim that talks have broken down. If that is true, one can only hope that it's because of Aston Villa's precarious position in the league right now. Having an owner from MLB could be a huge boon to Aston Villa, and this is a really exciting bit of news.