Richard Justice (via the Houston Chronicle):
Drayton McLane is nearing a deal to sell the Astros to Houston businessman Jim Crane, several people with knowledge of the discussions said Friday.
"They're close," a high-ranking Major League Baseball official said.
Meanwhile, McLane is denying that anything's imminent, and that Crane's ahead of the other suitors.
The Astros are in pretty bad shape right now, on the field, and McLane's probably been a big part of the problem. In the long term, though? Houston's a big market, and the payroll obligations shrink to almost nothing over the next couple of years. But the organization's talent base is weak, and it's going to take a few years to get competitive unless the new ownership is willing to spend big, soon.