Astros owner Jim Crane offers advice to Alex Rodriguez on buying Mets

HOUSTON — Winning a World Series title just four years after a 111-loss season was a stunning feat for the Houston Astros, and owner Jim Crane doesn't like the idea the team purposely tanked in the early-2010s to speed up a rebuild.

“People say we tanked,’’ Crane said. “We didn’t tank. When I bought the team, the revenue was way down. It was losing a lot of money, and the players we had under contract weren’t any good. So what do you do? You can’t throw more money at it and fix it.

“We did what we had to do to get to the next stage, and it worked out. I mean, was it genius? I think some of it were smart moves. Some of it was necessitated because finances were so bad. Our TV deal went bankrupt.

“But as the team started getting better, we started getting people in the ballpark. Our revenues went up, so we could afford to spend more. It just makes sense. You can’t spend more than you're making or you’re going to run into problems. Look at the Mets.’’

And with the Mets up for sale, one of the bidders reached out to Crane for advice. Yep, Alex Rodriguez.

“We looked at so many teams before buying this one, I told him I had a lot of information,’’ Crane said. “I told him you’ve got to be willing to understand and know what you’re doing. But that could be a good investment.

“It’s a great market. There’s a lot of upside. If you turn that team around, you could do as well as the Yankees, in my opinion.’’

And if A-Rod can pull off the greatest 180-degree image makeover in sports history, perhaps forgiveness can be around the corner for Crane and the Astros, too.

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