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Offseason Plans are Wide Open in Oakland

Posted By Josh Muller On Oct 21 2011 @ 6:58 pm In Oakland A's | 10 Comments

October is here and the post-season is in full swing. It’s a beautiful time to be a baseball [1] fan. I wish I could say the same for being an A’s [2] 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 [3], 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 [6]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 [8] 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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URLs in this post:

[1] baseball: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/sports/mlb-baseball/

[2] A’s: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/sports/mlb-baseball/oakland-as/

[3] here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/09/03/can-we-get-some-ballpark-love/

[4] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/10/billy_beane1.jpg

[5] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/10/Josh+Willingham+5THFIKS1odMm.jpg

[6] Raiders : http://www.prosportsblogging.com/sports/nfl-football/oakland-raiders/

[7] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/10/Al-davis.jpeg

[8] John Shea: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/16/SPJ11LI714.DTL

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