If you weren’t convinced the A’s “stadium or die” stance regarding re-signing Josh Willingham was real, get ready for confirmation. Now it’s Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, who’s breaking the bad news thanks to tonight’s Susan Slusser article:
Comte… said he also believes the A’s spending will depend on the speed and the outcome of a stadium decision. Last week, Josh Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told The Chronicle that he’d gone to the A’s with proposals for a multi-year deal but was told the team is in wait-and-see mode while Major League Baseball continues to examine territorial rights issues that affect where a potential new stadium would be built – currently two and a half years of deliberations and counting.
Comte said that he hasn’t spoken to Oakland general manager Billy Beane recently, but he said, “The reality is that we knew in spring training that the situation with the stadium could impact their long-term spending.”
Slusser goes on to describe the Giants as Crisp’s #1 suitor. Crisp projects as a Type B free agent, meaning he’s worth a supplemental first round pick (a.k.a. “sandwich pick”) if he is offered arbitration, declines (as would be expected), and signs elsewhere.
Again, I have to say that I think we’re talking about the difference between a $50 million payroll and a $70 million payroll, not a gutting of the young talent (at least not right away). I can’t say that it’s a good idea to involve players and agents in this stadium business, but as long as everyone’s aware of the factor(s), I suppose it’s better to be above board than to couch everything in euphemisms.
At least the A’s made one key re-signing today: Ken Korach has been extended through the 2014 season.
Update 9/27 12:00 AM – Another down note – the deal between the A’s and the City of Phoenix for improvements to Phoenix Municipal Stadium is apparently dead, with the A’s probably on the move after their lease expires in 2014. That is, unless something miraculous happens to bring the A’s and City back to the table. The A’s aren’t alone in abandoning Phoenix, as the Brewers are prepared to leave Maryvale even sooner (2012).