Friedman, the father of Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, said Monday he has a group of investors lined up to make a possible proposal to McLane, but acknowledged he has to wait and see what happens with Houston businessman Jim Crane, who is trying to buy the club.
"It's been just a very short period of time, just a few weeks, but I've been very pleased with the response we've gotten from a number of people," Friedman said. "I understand they recently entered into an exclusive negotiating period with Mr. Crane and his group, which is not surprising. They're well ahead in their efforts. I'm going to continue to keep pushing until someone tells me not to."
McLane on Monday acknowledged the agreement with Crane, but said nothing is imminent.
"We have an agreement where we're talking with Jim Crane right now, but have not reached an agreement with him," McLane said.
Friedman, a senior partner in the Houston office of Dallas-based law firm Haynes and Boone, is chairman of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. He said he's already been approved by Major League Baseball.
"We have a number of investors that are major investors," Friedman said. "We have a number of people that have said, 'If you need a deal, I think we're in good shape.'"
Friedman was asked about his confidence to put a deal together if Crane doesn't buy the team.
"My confidence is 100 percent," he said. "I think it would take us a few weeks to put together a solid deal."
McLane announced in November he was accepting offers for the sale of the club he purchased over 18 years ago, and he said he desired local ownership. Crane is the CEO and founder of Houston-based Crane Capital Group.
McLane said in December 2009 that he'd had a tentative agreement with Crane to purchase the Astros following the 2008 season, but a deal couldn't be reached. Crane previously bid to purchase the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
The negotiations are being handled by Steve Greenberg of Allen & Company, a New York-based investment bank. Greenberg said in March he was in discussions with multiple parties and that the process was "closer to the finish line than we are the starting line," but didn't acknowledge Crane's interest.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less