Hicks working hard to sell Rangers

Hicks working hard to sell Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Lawyers for owner Tom Hicks and Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg continued to work on Saturday toward an agreement on the sale of the Rangers.

A midnight Friday deadline passed without an agreement, but the two sides were back at it on Saturday continuing the negotiations. It could be a few days before a deal is finally reached, but sources said it will ultimately come down to approval by Major League Baseball, as well as the banks that hold the debt on the Hicks Sports Group.

Major League Baseball is expected to approve the transaction. Greenberg's group, which includes Nolan Ryan, has strong support from Commissioner Bud Selig.

Greenberg's negotiating team includes Washington attorney Irwin Raij, who has powerful and impressive connections to Major League Baseball. Raij represented Major League Baseball in the Montreal Expos' relocation to Washington and in the efforts to get a new stadium for the Florida Marlins. He is also on a committee appointed by the Commissioner to study the Oakland Athletics' stadium situation.

Approval by the banks is also needed. Hicks put the team up for sale to help pay off or reduce the substantial debt accumulated by the Hicks Sports Group. Getting approval by the banks is a significant step, but sources within the Greenberg group continue to express optimism that will not be an obstacle.

Greenberg has expressed hope that the new ownership group will be in place with everything approved by Opening Day. Greenberg will take over as managing general partner, Ryan will remain as club president and Hicks will remain with the team as one of 12 limited partners in the group. Most of the group is made up of local investors.

Hicks granted Greenberg's group a 30-day window of exclusive negotiations that expired at midnight Friday without a deal completed. That opened up the possibility that the process could start over from the beginning, with other bidders re-entering the process. Houston businessman Jim Crane has continued to hang around in the hopes of buying the team.

That does not appear likely at this point. Right now, it appears the process is coming to a conclusion.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.