The Payoff

Update 12/27 5:40 PM – A report at MLB.com has Lew Wolff saying there is no movement on the stadium front yet. Yet.

Update 8:54 PM – Interviewed by Rick Tittle and John Dickinson on The Game (MP3), Bob Nightengale has the estimate at $50-100 million, which would fall in line with the other cases listed below. Nightengale guesses that the number will be less than what the O’s received, with some chance to compensate the Giants for lost attendance. (Thanks letsgoas)

There’s been plenty of discussion about a the A’s leaving Oakland for San Jose. Little has been said or written about what deal will have to be struck to make the move happen. The Giants have consistently said there is no acceptable price for ceding the South Bay, while the A’s would prefer they get the Valley for the same price Wally Haas gave it up in the first place: zero. Obviously, that’s a massive gap to bridge and neither side is going to get exactly what they want, so a compromise is in order. As much as I’d like to think Commissioner Bud Selig has spent significant effort in crafting a solution, I can’t help but think that he’ll simply go with whatever his handpicked panel put together (probably as early as 18-24 months ago).

The Giants believe the South Bay market is practically priceless, though they’ve surely been pressed privately by MLB, and upon being pressed, the market for them is worth nine figures. My semi-educated guess is that they said $200-250 million, which is representative of potential franchise value change for both the Giants and A’s. I mentioned in the last post that some within the Giants camp believe that if the A’s left the Bay Area altogether, the Giants’ valuation could jump as much as $500 million, making them a superteam with the Yankees, Red Sox, and the LA teams.

Roger Noll has estimated the value at $20-30 million, which has to be at the low end of the spectrum (I can’t see $0 happening). Some recent owner compensation examples also exist:

  • 2005: Peter Angelos (Orioles) gets a guarantee of at least $365 million for a future franchise sale price and $75 million to start a new regional sports network that would carry both the O’s and the soon-to-be Nationals. Half of the $75 million came from MLB, the rest came from the future owners of the Nats. The Orioles did not technically have territorial rights to DC.
  • 2011: Jim Crane (Astros) gets a $70 million discount from the original $680 million price for the franchise. Again, half came from MLB, the other half came from seller Drayton McLane. The discount was negotiated as the price to move the Astros from the National League Central to the American League West. The discount doesn’t necessarily mean any cash changed hands.

So it seems that MLB has a sort of standard in place when it comes to offering a compromise: fund half and make the desirous party pay the other half. Both the Giants and A’s know this, and it’s possible that Selig, wanting to cut to the chase, has already offered something to this effect. That brings us back to the number. Territorial rights (with regards to stadium placement) were at stake into the two aforementioned scenarios, which means they can’t be counted on as exact precedent. The method is in place, so there’s at least indicator of what could be done. While many fans and much of the media think of Selig’s panel as either a ruse or a joke, I think they’re quite important in terms of determining a fair value. That’s what’s really at stake here, not so much whether the Giants’ entitlement to the South Bay or A’s request for it are valid.

In August I brought up the Zito trade option again. He’s owed $19 million next season, $20 million in 2013, and either an $18 million full salary in 2014 (unlikely at this rate) or a $7 million buyout. That’s $46 million guaranteed to the former Cy Young winner, whose combined WAR in five seasons in orange and black is 6.6. I’m not particularly interested in a Zito return to the A’s other than it’s a business win-win for both teams. That the $46 million is essentially equivalent to $90 million in revenue over those three years based on how much revenue is allocated to team payroll, which is more meaningful in terms of putting together assets for a T-rights exchange agreement than a specific bottom line argument. In any case, moving Zito will make it much easier for the Giants to swallow the likely $20+ million arbitration award Tim Lincecum will get next month, and long term, easier to sign both Lincecum and Matt Cain for the next five years or so (combined: $350 million?). I’m the only person with any standing talking about this, so I won’t belabor the point any further.

Then there’s the issue of the remaining debt service on AT&T Park. Remember that this was the original argument put forth by the Giants, and it’s a valid one: $20 million per year through 2017. They even took it a step further by having SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera threaten MLB with a lawsuit because a move by the A’s to San Jose would hamper the Giants’ ability to pay SF its measly $2,000,000 in land rent, along with property and sales taxes. Legal sabre-rattling aside, what it comes down to is the years 2015 through 2017, which if a San Jose Athletics ballpark were to move forward, would be the years when debt service for both venues would be in play. The Giants argue that half of their fanbase and revenue comes from south of San Francisco, which means that their ability to pay half of the debt service would be in jeopardy. Taken at face value, the risk is $30 million, which may be where Noll gets his compensation estimate.

The big takeaway rumor I got from the GM Winter meetings a three weeks ago was that supposedly the Selig panel report was made available. If so, it probably has one or more recommendations on moving forward, including a primary consensus-building option that Selig has rubber-stamped. Only The Lodge knows what that is. Personally, I hope it’s something creative and not a simple cash payment, since that may not properly address both teams’ concerns and may handicap the A’s unnecessarily. The A’s are a gimp as they are right now.

At The Biz of Baseball, Maury Brown thinks that if the two sides can’t hammer out a compromise on T-rights, binding arbitration may be in order. That could explain why there’s talk of a final February solution. Player arbitration occurs during the first three weeks of February, so it wouldn’t be out of line for MLB to use the same resources take care of the A’s and Giants once and for all. Certainly there isn’t much in terms of precedent compared to negotiating a deal with a Super Two, but the principle is the same: the two parties name their figures, and a judge reviews the situation and picks a winner based on the one that is closest to market value. No appeals, no lawsuits (per ML Constitution), no whining. The important thing there is that since the winner is based on the appraised market value, there’s a sort of built-in protection from the sides making overly outlandish offers, since an unreasonable offer is more likely to be dismissed.

That leaves one question: Why has it taken this long? I suppose the reasoning is twofold. MLB wanted to defer to the Giants, who are still paying for China Basin and as mentioned, have six years left on the mortgage there. That ties into making the pain of compensation by the A’s (and MLB?) less since with every year that elapses, another $20 million comes off the ledger. That’s a big deal. Imagine if the A’s started playing in San Jose this past season. MLB would’ve had to account for seven years of debt service at AT&T Park, or $140 million. Even if that’s split in half, that’s nearly as much as the highest payroll in A’s history. Unfortunately, the collateral damage for the delay becomes the excruciatingly ongoing limbo of the have-not A’s. At least an end is in sight.

43 thoughts on “The Payoff

  1. From the sound of it, the so-called Blue Ribbon Panel came to the same conclusion Wolff did about a new ballpark in Oakland: It’s a hopeless cause.

  2. re: The Giants believe the South Bay market is practically priceless,
    …Of course they do. They get to be the MLB team for the nation’s 10th and 13th-largest cities. The A’s? They get the nation’s 47th-largest city.

  3. This is a great primer on the “what next” of this whole situation, ML. Thanks for taking the time to do it over the holiday weekend.

    The Zito option seems very interesting and it seems like something the Giants should be willing to discuss as part of the equation given the burden his dead weight is having on their ability to squeeze some offense into their payroll.

    On their end, it would seem like it could be more palatable for the A’s as a short term part of the process as well, given that at least they’d be getting something tangible in return as opposed to just a cash payment. Zito remains fairly popular on the East Side of the Bay and actually put up a couple of 3-WAR pitching seasons working with Curt Young a few years back. At the very least, he could chew some innings and allow the A’s to bring up their latest crop of pitching prospects slowly, as opposed to the rush job they did with Cahill and Anderson.

    However, such creative thinking doesn’t seem like Bud’s MO, unfortunately.

    I’d rather not see the situation go to binding arbitration. It would seem that in that case, whichever side gets the shorter end of the stick would just blame the whole thing on the judge for the end of time and always bring it up whenever something doesn’t go their way. I would hope that a Selig-sanctioned payoff deal would go to the owners as part of the overall T-rights vote, which I think would likely be approved…in that case, at least The Lodge is sharing responsibility in the outcome and not just passing it off to the relatively anonymous arbitration process…

  4. One thing that continues to amaze re the Giants position on territorial rights is that its all based on assumptions, not fact. So (supposedly) half of your revenue and fans come from the South Bay (cough BULL SHIT cough); wouldn’t you have to prove to MLB that the A’s in San Jose would take those fans and revenue? And what’s up with the Giants placing a value on SCCO? Won’t they retain that “value” if SCCO is shared? Why not make the whole Bay shared, with the Giants also having Alameda and CoCo added to their “Value?” But I digress; the end is certainly near, damn straight. And whatever the Giants get for compensation won’t matter to me…BECAUSE THE A’S ARE ON THEIR WAY TO SAN JOSE!

  5. By the way RM, any chance the A’s play at AT&T Park while Cisco Field is being built? Get into a real ballpark sooner and provide the Giants a little extra scratch in 2013-14.

  6. i don’t see how you could schedule two 81 home games in a single major league season at one venue? a’s are gonna play out the string at the coliseum and then move into cisco field likely in 2015. frankly even as one who desperatly thinks the a’s need to move to sj, this coming from somebody who was born and lived all their life in oakland, it’d stink big time if the a’s don’t spent their last season in 2014 just before moving to sj at the coliseum.

    as much as it’s a dump, it has a ton of histor and would love to see in that last season some of the history come back in a so long to the venue and city of oakland.

  7. knightengale on with 95.7 with tittle and jd and said the compensation he’d guess will be between 50-100 million. will post the link of the interview when it’s up.

  8. By delaying and delaying it Selig basically let Oakland die on the vine per say or perhaps better said let Oakland let itself die on the vine and thus made the final outcome pretty much obvious. I would like nothing more than for the A’s to stay in Oakland, but alas…
    The powers that be sure didn’t do themselves any favors. Now the big concern is what’s the city going to do if and when all three major teams up and leave. There’s something to be said to be able to call yourself a major league city. Deal with the devil stadium arrangements included. White elephants they may be, and maybe it’s a suckers bet to sell your soul to get a team to call your place home, but sure as hell how every town wants one of those white elephants.
    Bummer.

  9. I’m just glad we’re at the point of discussing what the compensation will be! Not if SJ will happen or not. Over seven years of pain is finally coming to an end. Champagne at the ready (and it ain’t for New Years!). By the way, Congrats Drew Brees!

  10. Thanks letsgoas. I just heard they had interviewes Nightengale.

  11. I’m loathe to admit it, but Selig may have been crafty as a fox after all. His delaying has allowed several things to happen. It’s caused the needed compensation to the Giants to drop into the range the A’s will be willing to pay. It’s allowed Oakland to figuratively hang itself proving that they have no intention of building a ballpark. It’s allowed Wolff to dismantle the team “Major League” style and provide even more reasoning for a move due to the dropping attendances and revenues (culminating in this complete dismantling this month). It’s allowed him to gather the needed votes to force this down the Giants’ throats. And it’s allowed the A’s time to rebuild the team properly for the move.

    I mean in the end, his “indecision” has actually worked out quite well despite how long and painful it has been to all of us.

  12. The delay was most definitely to allow Wolff to sell off his hotel assets at a better time than what they were valued at a few years ago. The fact that there wasn’t a peep about the situation from either side until after he sold off the Rosemont properties is a huge indication of how a deal hinged on it.

  13. Sorry, should be Rosewood, it’s been a long day.

  14. To me, a huge sign is that the pro-Oakland crowd seems to have gotten much, much smaller. I don’t see much of anything when it comes to taking to various internet forums (here, SFGate, et. al). And the commentary I do see seems to be, “This sucks, but at least they’re still in the Bay.” That seems to represent a pretty huge shift as to where this is heading sooner than later. As a lifelong A’s fan and a San Jose resident, I do feel for lots of good folks who will be losing a piece of their identity. I know there are only a small group of fans at the games on weeknights, but to their credit, they are there. Not their fault that so many other fans aren’t interested. On the other hand, I have not one ounce of sympathy for the city of Oakland. Talk about stringing along so many, with their “Let’s do an EIR on Victory Court, I’m Jean Quan, gimme one of your STAY t-shirts!” Only to announce it never got started.
    Oh well, just got back from a sweet Dubs win. Why the hell is Curry playing? Might not be an issue for a few weeks now.

  15. If Zito is part of a theoretical deal, to me it would signal a big change of heart on the part of the Giants. It would signal a cooperative spirit that currently is completely lacking on the Giants part. Can the Giants be forced by The Lodge to be cooperative? If more than 75% of The Lodge says ‘make a deal because we are allowing the A’s to move to SJ’, will the Giants be a good member of The Lodge and become cooperative? Or will their open and clandestine operation shift to an even higher gear? Think about this, if The Lodge gives the ok and the Giants enter good faith negotiations…..yet with a no vote in SJ meaning so much value to the Giants, can the Giants be expected to stay completely out of the Anti Stadium Vote drive in SJ?

    You really can’t blame the Giants for the goal to oust the A’s from the Bay Area and make their franchise among the most valuable. What for profit business would not fight tooth and nail to instantly enlarge the value of their company by 25% to 50%? (though I do knock them for what appears to be a significant lack of integrity in their tactics).

    Lastly, this has got to stick in the craw of LW and the other A’s owners. The Giants wanted a stadium in SCC and to help them Haas gave away TR for just about nothing. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Giants are acting as if TR is an amazingly sacrosanct inalienable right. Ironic….

  16. @daveybaby I think the reaction of fans at Fanfest will be a good indicator if there’s a possible shift in demeanor. At this point, there is little us Oakland A’s fans can do to keep the team, it seems. Money talks and there doesn’t seem to be any tangible solutions. It also does no good coming on to this site and complaining, it just leads to the same old bickering. Just the same, I’m going to keep hoping until the A’s officially cast off Oakland.

  17. The reality of the matter is in business (And MLB is a business), one of your main goals is to turn a poorly performing liability into an asset (And the Oakland A’s are a major liability because of the transfer payments the A’s are receiving, in large part, because of their stadium situation). If Selig can get the A’s to San Jose, he will have solved a big problem, one that is hurting all four professional sports (Which is teams playing in obsolete facilities). In addition to the A’s, the only team you can say plays in a dump is Tampa. Another thing Selig wants is to have a positive legacy, and if an agreement is reached to allow the A’s to move, and a new TV contract gets signed, coupled with what was accomplished in 2011 (New CBA (Coupled with HGH testing), the sale of the Astros, and an agreement for Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers) he will have done exactly that.
    As for Oakland, they are no longer a city that most professional athletes want to go to (The violence you saw with “Occupy Oakland” is just the latest example of it). The question still remains, can they get their act together, and keep the Raiders & Warriors? If they don’t get their act together the answer is no.

  18. @David Brown I was at the Warriors game on Christmas and was shocked to find that most apparel sold at the game featured either “The City”, “San Francisco”, or just plain old “SF”. The Warriors seem more than ready to move across the bay.

  19. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Zito was tied to the payoff . . and he vetoed the trade? He’s a 10-and-5 guy, after all.

  20. It’ll be interesting to see if there is any backlash at FanFest since the A’s were already headed to Fremont and nobody cared. Perhaps the message will be – moving 25 miles to Fremont and renaming the team the San Jose A’s is acceptable but moving the team 35 miles to San Jose and renaming the team the San Jose A’s is not. Go figure.

  21. @A’s Fan – Went into the team store before the Chicago game, and honestly, I definitely felt demoralized seeing that as well. There’s a whole hat section with “The City” or “San Francisco.” They are not being discreet about their intentions, which is very unfortunate.

  22. @ML- do you expect territory to be “shared” or carved up specific for the A’s and gints? Seems as if shared territory, with the A’s being allowed tom locate anywhere but SF.. And the gints anywhere but SJ gives MLB an out ion terms of recommending one city over the other- they leveled the playing field with their expected decision …up to the A’s to choose what ci works best for them economically. I recall a post you did where you had some thoughts on this but can’t find it-

  23. As crazy as I thought it sounded when it was first brought up, Zito for SJ seems to make the most sense. The Giants could obviously use the money now, as judged by their inability sign legitimate offense during this offseason. They need to $ave for Lincecum and Cain. Meanwhile, the A’s could easily absorb Zito’s bloated salary since they are in rebuilding mode. In fact, bringing on the extra salary might actually be necessary. Remember it was only last year that Florida had to up their payroll due to complaints from revenue-producing owners and the MLBPA.
    A Zito for TR rights exchange would be more likely to satisfy owners who might be uncomfortable with a simple money exchange. Not only that, but what Giants fan wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to jettison Zito? My guess is if Zito got involved most all Giants fans would fully support the transfer of rights. Maybe even that nutcase in SJ who is part of the Stand for SJ lawsuit. Well, maybe that’s going to far, but you get my drift.

  24. This whole news from Bob Nightingale is fantastic, and on Friday before Christmas. What a great Christmas present!
    Now, the A’s finally have a bright future, and can move forward. Now I can look forward to the rebuild trades.
    As for compensation to the G’s, I hope it’s not that big – just enough to keep them quiet and the rest of MLB owners comfortable that T-rights aren’t easily nullified. Afterall, the territory was historically shared, and the G’s never paid for exclusivity of SCCO in the first place. But they’ll get something. And I would not mind if Zito was part of the equation. He can still be a useful, innings eating pitcher, while the young prospects develop. We just won’t expect much from him, and we’ll know that his fat contract is what is helping us get to SJ. Plus, he is a “blast from the past” and perhaps good for fan interest. And wouldn’t it be hilarious if Zito did come over as part of the package, and then suddenly found his old form back?

  25. I do not believe Selig will make the A’s pay a dime. MLB will pay $$ for the flaw in their system to the Giants. The Bay Area should have been shared when the leagues combined in 1993. But Haas was trying to sell anyways and overlooked this.

    Now because of that same error or generosity (however you want to call it) MLB has to step up and pay the Giants off in some fashion.

    The ballpark debt on ATT is such a small portion of the Giants flawed argument. The reality is franchise value and how to share the market T-rights wise.

    My guess is similar to Nigtengale’s, 50M-100M from MLB over a 2-3 year period once the A’s start playing in San Jose.

    That plus a guaranteed franchise value of some type coupled with a 100% shared Bay Area between both teams to help team values.

    That is why the other three 2-team markets are shared 100%.

    Ex: It helps both the Mets and Yankees to both have Manhattan in their T-rights to help with value. If the Yankees owned Manhattan like the Giants own SCC then the Mets would suffer in value drop much like the A’s do now. It creates an imbalance towards 1 team.

    That is why this is so retarded, if the market was shared the A’s would have been in San Jose years ago and each team would have market balance.

    But because of MLB’s system flaw and Haas’ mistake the Giants have ruled supreme in the market since 2000 and after 12 seasons there and a WS title the scales have tipped so far in their favor that the A’s are essentially at the bottom of a tar pit.

    In LA, Chicago, and NY each team can move anywhere freely in the market and those rights that are shared are baked into each team’s value.

    In the Bay Area, the Giants have 3/4 of the market while the A’s are stuck with 1/4 and the difference in team values is astonishing because of it. In the other 2-team markets, every team gives to revenue sharing and are top 10 in value because all T-rights are shared and the teams are situated properly in their markets.

    It will take years either way for the A’s to catch up to the Giants in terms of market balance even with Cisco Field.

    But eventually in a 5-10 year time frame the A’s will be on equal footing once again and perhaps with winning teams and losing Giants team pass them in the market…..It is the best we call can hope for.

  26. Just moving the A’s to San Jose without making the Bay Area a shared market will only solve a short term cash flow and stadium issue. In the big picture, where MLB has shown that the Bay Area is a large market, sharing the entire market like the other 2 team big markets makes long term financial sense. If the health of MLB as a whole and uniformity are concerns of Bud Selig as he leaves his legacy, he will make sure this happens.

  27. @GoA’s – I don’t expect it to be shared. I think the best solution would be for the Giants to have exclusive rights to SF and everything else in the Bay Area shared. Instead it’ll probably be the Giants getting the West Bay, A’s getting the East and South Bay or only the South Bay.

  28. Market value is a big piece of overall franchise value.

    MLB needs to bring everything in line in this market as a whole so that it is not different than any other 2-team market. I do not count Baltimore-Washington DC as they are separate media markets….that plus the Nationals moved there from out of the general market recently. The A’s have been in the Bay Area since 1968.

    NY-CHI-LA like the Bay Area have common media markets so are the best comparison.

    Otherwise franchise values will still be skewed as they are now.

    By sharing the entire Bay Area the Giants may increase in value as the East Bay would be included in their market value. That is an additional 2.5M people or so.

    The A’s value would increase big time by sharing the entire market as well since Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Marin, and SF county would all be shared now.

    It is pretty complicated but MLB has seen the flaw of not having a 2-team market shared and to continuing to not have the Bay Area shared 100% would be a mistake that would hurt the league.

    My example of the Yankees-Mets above shows clearly why they must share the whole market. It increases both franchises values (especially the A’s) and bring everything consistent across the board.

    It makes more sense for the league as whole. That is why those other 2-team markets were always shared in the first place.

  29. I’m taking the Nightengale tweet and interview with a grain of salt.

    The very first question of the interview was: “How did you come about this information?” Nightengale didn’t answer. He just merely re-stated what his tweet said, and amplified with a the same unsubstantiated speculation that’s been on this site for eons (Wolff has known for months, MLB has told them privately they were waiting for the Dodgers’ situation to be resolved, etc.).

    Nightengale could have said, “An unnamed mid-level yahoo from MLB told me” or “I deduced from this, that and the other.” Instead, he just ignored the actual question. The rest of his answers are just suppositions and guesses, including the amount of compensation the Giants will receive.

    I understand he’s a highly respected writer. I had never heard of him before yesterday. But given the lack of sourcing in his reporting, I’m not convinced that he knows any more than anyone else.

  30. Option One = Gnats get Bagel-squat.

    Option Two = Arbitrate Real Proveable Damages after the A’s are in San Jose for 5 years. That’s equitable and not speculative.

  31. @EddieVegas_NRAF
    The world needs ditchdiggers too, you know?

    It’s done.

  32. What does that even mean? I know what it means, but in this context, what does it mean?

  33. i think with all the moves the a’s have made in trading cahill and gio and probably will deal bailey sometime this offseason, why would the a’s make all these moves which looks like they’re building up a team for a couple of years from now which happens to be also the same time period the a’s will supposedly move into cisco field in 2015 if they haven’t been told at least privately that sj is a green light?

    didnt’ beane earlier in the offseason say if they didn’t get sj that he’d tried to build up the team for the short term again as he tried to do this past season by signing the likes of matsui and trading for willingham/dejesus. the complete opposite is happening with beane tearing everything down and going in a full rebuild mode.

  34. @Eddie – I’ve heard many of the same things Nightengale has. It started to get loud towards the end of the season.

  35. Over at MLB.com Wolff is denying everything Nightengale stated in his tweet. At first read it appears like a bummer, but if you really think about it, what else is Mr. Wolff going to say; “Yes, a thousand times yes, everything Nightengale tweeted is true, damn straight!” Its looking like February all.

  36. I thought this Wolff quote was interesting (from the interview on MLB.com)

    “Last year it didn’t affect our planning. This year it is.”

    Is that really true? A’s were making a lot of noise last year at this time that they needed a decision ASAP. Was that just posturing?

  37. Remember Rayburn’s Son: two wrongs don’t make a right but three rights make a left.

    I asked Nightengale via Twitter for a response about the mlb.com story. His reply:

    “Everyone has been instructed to keep quiet on it because of the #Dodgers situation”

    1) Feel free to explain to me what the Dodgers’ situation has to do with the A’s (besides, you know, F the Giants)

    2) If everyone is supposed to keep quiet, not everyone is, apparently. I’m dying to know who the loudmouth is. Maybe I’ll drive around Moose Lake.

  38. @EddieVegas

    In addition to some loose lips at SJ City Hall I heard a midwest baseball writer who knows Jerry Reinsdorf really well who told this story 2 months ago, but “Mums the word.” Nightengale is obviously the golden boy. I would have thought Purdy might get to break the story.

    So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

  39. After listening to the podcast with Rick Tittle, I do not know how great of a source Bob Nightengale is. When asked where he received his information from, he dodges the question. Throughout the interview the guy comes across as inarticulate. If you listen to the interview, when talking about the A’s on the field in the coming years he said, “It’s going to be an awful team. It’s going to be a AAA team. No better than Sacramento and a little better than San Jose clubs (San Jose Giants Class-A).” The guy doesn’t come off as bright. I’ve never heard of him before. I want to believe him and hope he is correct regarding the move to San Jose. Should we respect what this Bob Nightengale has to say? How legitimate of a source is he?

  40. @Chris – Many of these conversations are “off the record”. That’s how the info gets reported, unsourced and “off the record”.

  41. “Baseball Arbitration” has become a term of art in the legal world. The procedure works pretty well within mlb’s strange labor-relations circumstances, but outside of mlb it’s used mainly to cut through the rigor and expense of actual trial or arbitration (and full pre-trial preparation) to get to a quick and dirty result. If one side wants to (and has the right to) litigate instead, it won’t work. mlb might invoke its constitution, but that would only compound the anticompetitive conduct of the territorial re-division itself. The antitrust exemption once again would be up for legal challenge. mlb owners do not want that. So I think a negotiated deal is essential to resolving this business dispute between the A’s and Giants. Anything else could be very bad for business. And, at this point, that’s all this dispute is about. The fans on both sides (but especially the A’s East Bay fans) are getting screwed.

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