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Offseason Plans are Wide Open in Oakland

October is here and the post-season is in full swing. It’s a beautiful time to be a baseball fan. I wish I could say the same for being an A’s fan specifically but we’re in a recession right? So I’ll take what I can get.

First, I’d like to apologize for my lack of posting lately. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues and took a vacation and didn’t take my computer with me. But I’m back now and will be posting semi regularly throughout the off-season.

Now, about that off-season. General Manager, Billy Beane has come out and said he expects there to be a resolution, one way or the other, on the new stadium issue soon. I’ve already discussed the importance of getting a new venue for the A’s here, but I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to the on field performance. Without that added revenue, and with free agents wanting to avoid Oakland because of its less than desirable facilities, the A’s have zero to no hope of keeping with the pack long term.

Oakland A's GM, Billy Beane: The man with The Plan

And because the A’s haven’t heard what will happen for almost three years now, it’s nearly impossible to formulate an organizational plan going forward.

Rumors have come out, and Beane has all but confirmed them, that the decision on the ballpark will have a direct influence on what the A’s future plans will be. The way I see it, there are three possible answers the A’s could get from the committee appointed to decide their future: Approval for San Jose, disapproval for San Jose, or nothing at all.

Beane and others have given hints as to what directions the club might take with each possible outcome so lets examine.

All systems a go: The best possible situation, as it stands now, is that the A’s will be granted permission to move on to San Jose and to greener pastures. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I have mixed feelings about this outcome. While I’d love the A’s to have more resources and hopefully a more competitive squad to go with it, I’d hate to see the A’s wipe my beloved Oakland’s dust off their shoes when they leave. I’ll try to think of the greater good though.

Now, if the club is approved for San Jose, not only will the team be leaving Oakland, it will also almost certainly enter into a full rebuild mode with the hopes of fielding a competitive team within the next three to five years (the projected length of constructing a new ballpark).

I know what you are thinking: if they were getting a new ballpark with new money, why would they still be hesitant to raise payroll? The answer is simple. Because they don’t have the money yet. I’m sure the payroll would increase with the move, but during the years leading up to it, Billy Beane and friends will focus on player development and the draft to create a good young core of players to produce in their new home. Then they could supplement that core with the right free agents.

But again, I must stress that in this scenario, in their last few remaining ears in Oakland, the A’s would likely be fielding a sub par team in the attempts to be successful in their new home. And I think everyone would be fare game in a trade for the right price. I doubt Billy would get what he would want in a trade for Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson (they’d be selling low on both) or Gio Gonzalez, all of whom are under team control for multiple years. But everyone else would probably be expendable for prospects.

And you could say goodbye to all the impending free agents too (Willingham, Coco, Matsui). The team would not spend money to bring back veterans who likely wouldn’t help the current team enough to make a difference and whose contracts would more than likely expire before moving to San Jose.

Josh Willingham, the A's best hitter last year, is all but gone if the A's are approved for San Jose

Denied: If the A’s proposal for San Jose is denied then the future of the team is in complete limbo. For Lew Wolff, it’s San Jose or bust, which means that he’d likely look to sell the team if his San Jose dream is denied.

For the immediate future of the team, this would be a plus. In order to make the A’s look more attractive to a prospective buyer, Billy Beane would look to field a competitive team. This means that free-agents-to-be, especially Josh Willingham, would be much more likely to return.

It’s a sacrifice though. It’s obvious that this team needs some future direction and a resolution to the ballpark issue. It’s a huge bummer, especially for A’s fans living in Oakland, but with a new venue comes the team’s departure and with the team staying in Oakland it will receive no new venue and continue to decay.

The Wait Continues: When I first heard that MLB was appointing a committee to solve the ballpark situation for the A’s I was excited because I thought it would be followed by a swift resolution, whatever that resolution might be. But nearly three years later, the long dark of the committee’s research and deliberating has almost numbed me to the issue. I honestly don’t think we will get any closure within the confines of this offseason.

This scenario would probably bring an outcome similar to that of the A’s being denied San Jose with it. All efforts would be spent making the team look attractive in the short term leaving the team unable to form a long-term plan. And with each passing day, fans and front office personnel alike are growing more and more resentful, whether or not anyone is willing to admit it. My own father thinks Commissioner Bud Selig is trying to wait out the A’s so that they will move out of the Bay Area all together. Can’t say I blame him

Expect the Unexpected: A new interesting development related to the passing of Raiders Owner, Al Davis (rest in peace, Al) has recently presented itself. The iconic owner would never have moved the team from Oakland a second time, but in reality, the Raiders don’t want to play in the Coliseum any more than the A’s do.

Al Davis' recent passing leaves the future of the Raiders up for grabs as well.

I’ve heard two rumors regarding the future home of the Raiders. One is the obvious. Los Angeles has been trying to get an NFL team for years, and the Raiders once called the city of angels home.

In a really nice article, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle mapped out another possibility. He points out that the Raiders have expressed interest in piggy backing on the 49ers and moving to Santa Clara for a shared stadium.

I don’t know how either of these scenarios would work out and I don’t care. If, and it’s a huge if, the Raiders leave the city of Oakland behind it would leave the A’s with sole position of the Coliseum. Bulldoze that thing down and we’re in business.

I know all this is a long shot, but I’m hoping for a best-case scenario here, and I’d take the Raiders moving if that means the A’s stay and get a new ballpark.

But it all comes down to the fact that there isn’t anything any of us can do except sit and wait… and that’s the worst part.

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My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.

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In response to “Offseason Plans are Wide Open in Oakland”

  1. Ignatius Oct 23 201112:17 am


    Yeesss…get the raiders out (whichs seems to be the only real solution) and give the A’s a new stadium in Oakland. Keep ‘em home!

  2. Christopher Rowe Oct 23 201112:45 am


    1. If Oakland wonapprove a new stadium for the Raiders then why would they approve one for the A’s?

    2. Whether moving to San Jose or rebuilding on the site of Oakland Alameda/Network Associates Coliseum, a 3 year construction project would still be required.

    3. When the Dodgers played in the LA Coliseum it was terrible for baseball. At least it is functional for football but terrible for baseball. What about going back to Candlestick for a season or two while building the A’s a new baseball ballpark?

    4. What about Palo Alto or Stanford or any of the existing locations as temporary site for the Raiders? The Bears played at U of I for a year, the Vikings played at U of MN, Eagles played in Franklin Field and the Patriots played at Harvard and Fenway Park.

    5. For a franchise that has called Philadelphia and Kansas City home, relocation is not exactly a new concept, Partnering with the 49ers might work for football as it does for the Jets and Giants over in New Jersey.

    6. Look at the Washington Nationals. Sometimes relocation and a beautiful new baseball palace still don’t solve the problems of poor franchise management. Nationals have been in Washington 6 seasons and in their new ballpark 3 seasons and they still draw about as well as they did in Montreal!

    7. Why not augment the existing stadium with retofitted luxury boxes and gutting the joint for some extra space internally for amenities? Still better than losing the team and it worked for both Fenway and Wrigley – and those buildings are 50 years older!

    1. Josh Muller Oct 23 20112:55 pm


      I personally think the A’s just need to get out of there. Yes wrigley and Fenway are older but they’ve been completely redone. You could do the same thing to the coliseum but nobody wants to look at the coliseum anymore. They need a new venue. Everyone else except the rays are getting one.

      And I think Oakland would approve a new ballpark. The trouble has been finding a new site for it. They could use the existing site if the Raiders were to move, which I admit is a long hot at this point.

      But if that happens, there are many viable options for the A’s to play during the construction. You mentioned many of them, Candlestick, the different colleges around. Hey if they played at a college field, they might be able to sell out a few games.

  3. Greginator Oct 24 20119:58 am


    What is the sticking point then? Your article is unclear! Is it moving the Raiders out and building a new baseball ballpark or is it the economic repercussions of trying to get the money out of municipal fathers? If the city/county own the stadium and teams are leasing then they can be evicted when contract ends. If the football and baseball teams want to build their own complex they are free to do so. Many of these stadiums are privately funded not publicly and those that ARE public require long-term leases to be signed (20-30 years).

    So is Oakland uncertain they want the A’s and Raiders or are the A;s and Raiders unsure they want Oakland?

    1. Josh Muller Oct 24 20113:08 pm


      Well, the sticking point is that there is no clear future. Everything is up in the air at this point, If my article is unclear, obviously a bit part of that is on me, but a little bit is on the fact that no one knows what to expect in the coming months.

      The situation with the raiders is just speculation. I doubt very much if anything substantial would come to fruition there, but its an interesting piece to this saga.

      And the A’s and Raiders are under their current lease with the Coliseum for many more years, but both teams would be happy to move on from the coliseum if it meant getting a new venue. And the problem isn’t as much the city’s approval as it is not having viable sites on which to build. Oakland definitely wants the A’s and the raiders. But neither the people owning the A’s or the raiders want to remain in Oakland if it means remaining at the Coliseum.

      And Like I said in the last line of the article, All we can do is wait until there is an answer. And that is the main point of the article. The A’s have no future plan until they get an answer, one way or the other, on San Jose.

    2. Josh Muller Oct 24 20113:14 pm


      And, as the title suggests, this is more of a discussion on how each outcome might shape the team going into next season,

  4. Christopher Rowe Oct 24 20113:52 pm


    My two cents is that if the franchise is tired of waiting they can pick up and relocate as they did when they left Philadelphia in the 1950s and Kansas City in the 1960s to find a new home in Oakland. They would have to find a new stadium but could determine their own fate if nothing else. It comes down to a question of slef-determination vs. market determination really.

    If it is a stadium issue and they are stuck in their current building then refurbishing is better than nothing – and would draw increased revenue into the Raiders and A’s organizations.

    The sticking point for the A’s would be media management and market revenue sharing. If they want to move to San Jose they would need approval from MLB, San Francisco Giants and local media outlets. If they wanted to relocate to another market – such as one without an MLB team the resistance could be easier. Vancouver, Charlotte, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Portland and Sacramento would all be options without MLB teams but not all have existing venues.

  5. Christopher Rowe Oct 24 20113:56 pm


    Raiders piggybacking on a stadium deal with SF49ers in Santa Clara (a la Giants and Jets in the Meadowlands) makes whole lot of sense – especially with only 8 home games per team. That would free up the A’s to refurbish a baseball-only stadium or build anew on the existing site but CLEARLY the paradigm of a football-only and baseball-only complex doesn’t work without public funding and municipal usage (such as Seattle, Philadelphia, Cleveland, etc).

    1. Josh Muller Oct 24 20115:32 pm


      I agree that the franchise shouldn’t have qualms about picking up and moving. There are way more possibilities out there when you don’t limit yourself to California, or San Jose specifically. But with Lew Wolff as the face of ownership, that won’t happen. He is unwilling to even discuss other possibilities so that would have to come under different ownership. But if that happens, I think all bets would be off in terms of relocation.

  6. Sid Nov 2 20112:06 pm


    I agree with Josh nothing will happen yet again this off-season not with the Dodgers, Mets, and the new CBA on the table.

    Selig is a guy that needs to be pushed in order for him to act.

    Back in 1992 the NL owners denied Vincent Piazza moving the Giants to Tampa. He turned around and sued MLB in anti-trust suit and was about to be heard by the Florida Supreme Court.

    What did Selig do? He paid Piazza 16M to shut up and granted him and his group an expansion franchise…The Tampa Bay Rays….The irony as Tampa is another thorn at Selig’s side that like the A’s he created.

    Wolff is too “nice” and should have pushed San Jose to sue on similar grounds….They would have an excellent case as it is illegal to assign territorial rights for any business by Anti-Trust law.

    In any case, the Raiders will move to Santa Clara with the 49ers. It makes too much sense as why would the Raiders rot at the Coliseum when they can play in a brand new facility 35 miles south in the same market?

    If they move to LA their whole Bay Area fan base will desert them for life…They forgave them once for leaving not twice.

    As for the A’s, they need a downtown location. Not the Coliseum location to succeed.

    Oakland has no site worthy and Wolff has stated he does not want to own a team outside of California.

    Therefore if San Jose is shot down, my bet is MLB buys the team from Wolff and looks to relocate the team much like the Expos to DC.

    Selig wanted to give the Dodgers to Wolff and move the A’s away. But McCourt threw a wrench into that plan.

    At this point unless Selig can find a city who is willing to give him a free ballpark for the A’s he will have no choice but to open up San Jose.

    But in reality I have no faith in Selig to do the right thing….3 years tells you that.

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