Don’t expect major news next week

Last week I suggested that the Dodgers’ situation would take the A’s off the agenda for next week’s owners’ meetings. The closer we get to the sessions, the more I suspect that this is correct. The one thing that might have allowed the A’s to be brought up next week would’ve been an early CBA announcement, but none has happened as of yet. So it’s A) CBA, B) Dodgers, C) Astros, plus whatever committee stuff is on the agenda. Unless a miracle happens, the A’s will not be up for discussion at all.

That’s bad news for many fans hoping that a resolution to the A’s situation would allow the front office to start building next season’s team in earnest. If Billy Beane and Lew Wolff hold fast to their “no spending while in limbo” stance, the December GM meetings will come and go with little movement. Of course, there’s no stopping Beane from making moves well after the GM meetings (the Swisher trade was in January 2008), and regardless of stadium/site news the team were not expected to be a player for any big free agents. Instead, they’ll make the usual arbitration deadline offers for guys like Coco Crisp and Josh Willingham, and scoop up whatever picks they can when those two are signed by other teams.

This week I’ve seen frequent references to a Bill Madden article at the NY Daily News from last weekend. Here’s Madden’s scoop:

Are the Oakland A’s finally about to know the way to San Jose?

According to baseball insiders, the reason A’s co-owner Lew Wolff, the L.A.-based real-estate developer and close personal Selig ally, is not going to be a bidder in the Frank McCourt Dodger auction (as had been frequently speculated) is because the commissioner has given him tacit assurance that his effort to move the A’s to a new stadium in San Jose is eventually going to be approved.

Once Selig completes his major accomplishment of ridding the game and liberating the Dodgers of McCourt – which hopefully will be before Opening Day – he can turn his attention to the A’s, who have been waiting more than two years for his relocation study committee to deliver its report on San Jose and the San Francisco Giants’ territorial rights there.

Again, Wolff wasn’t going to be caught up in the Dodgers’ bidding process because A) he’s fully committed to the San Jose project and the A’s, and B) the fact that the Dodgers will be sold through an auction means that the team will go to the highest bidder instead of a deal orchestrated by Bud Selig. Note that Madden doesn’t say when Wolff will be granted San Jose, only that it’ll happen after the Dodgers sale is wrapped up. The next logical time for a decision to be made would be the next owners’ meetings, which are usually in mid-January. With several major issues presumably off the table, the A’s plight could finally get the attention it deserves. It’s also possible that the Giants’ managing partner discussion will come up at that point, making the possibility of both coming into play simultaneously that much more acute. The Dodgers probably won’t come up again because with the number of parties expected to bid on the Dodgers, I doubt the prescreening process will be finished by then. It would make more sense for the owners to approve the ownership change in May, as they did with the Rangers last year.

Maybe I’ll be wrong on this. Everything I’m reading and hearing points to events moving in that oh-so-deliberate fashion for the green-and-gold heroes. The quick acceleration of the Dodgers situation – which I’m sad to admit is more important from a business standpoint for MLB – makes it absolutely imperative that Selig addresses them first.

38 thoughts on “Don’t expect major news next week

  1. I think your reading of the timeframe and situation are accurate ML, as is usual.

    At this point I’m hopeful that Bill Madden’s insinuations are accurate, insofar as Selig has communicated to Wolff that SJ will eventually be green-lit.

    At this point, though, I don’t get the stalling on the part of the A’s baseball people from just publicly proclaiming that they will be “going young” next year no matter what or no matter when the stadium decision is made.

    Going into this off-season, it was clear that the A’s weren’t good enough to just re-sign everyone and hope for contention in 2012 – they need a major infusion of fresh offensive talent to keep up with Texas anytime soon. It was also clear that if SJ was a strong possibility, the team would go young anyways. To me, it was and is a no-brainer to go young either way, if they are staying in Oak or going to SJ eventually. I’m unconvinced that re-signing a 33-year old Josh Willingham or 40-year old Hideki Matsui would have any impact on increasing the sale price of the franchise if Wolff/Fisher were “forced” to sell.

    Time to place some current MLB guys on the trading block to see if some desperate team will trade their farm systems for someone…

  2. @Taj Adib – I don’t think any front office ever wants to admit they’re tanking the next year (or more?) to rebuild. The A’s didn’t do it following the Haren and Swisher trades. Yet look at a team like the Twins: crippled with injuries, future with Justin Morneau unknown, and they get the 2nd pick in the 2012 draft. Your AN piece pointed out some possibilities as to reshaping the team. As to the backup plan of getting free agents to make the team more attractive, I don’t think it’s a serious option. They know which way this is heading.

  3. You know, I’d like to believe the A’s will finally make it to the agenda in January, but something always comes up that’s more important. Bud will probably want to make sure the Greek economic crisis is settled before taking care of the A’s. Or we’ll discover some new life form in the Mariana Trench that will take precedence. There’s always something more important than the A’s.

  4. @ Dude – LOL! Made my friday! 😉

  5. @Dude – Nicely said.

    You’ve got to think, though, that Selig is really concentrating almost all his energies on “Legacy” issues at this point, even if he is thinking of remaining on the job past his self-imposed retirement date at the end of the year.

    Getting through the new CBA will be a nice feather in his cap for his legacy, but it’s not really a unique challenge that will define him (unlike, say, what David Stern is going through right now). It will likely be settled and announced with relatively little fanfare over the next week or so, and no one will speak of the “accomplishment” until the deal expires and a new one is discussed years from now, if ever.

    However, if he were to somehow orchestrate a sale of the Dodgers to a halfway competent ownership group for over 1 billion dollars AND settle the A’s and Rays stadium situations, all in the course of a calendar year…that would be one hell of a way for him to go into “retirement”.

    Regardless of what we think of him, being able to state on his Cooperstown credentials that he established and/or secured long-term viable, revenue-generating venue options for every team in the league has to be something that motivates him.

    I definitely doubt that anything Selig orchestrates for the A’s or Rays (or really any other small market team besides the Brewers, for that matter) will ever be done for altruistic motives…however, I definitely believe that, especially at this point in his career, he might be more inclined to really resolve the A’s situation, just for his own purely selfish, legacy-padding reasons…

  6. @Taj Adib – Aren’t the Rays way more than a year out from a stadium agreement at this point, no matter what?

  7. Sounds reasonable, Taj, and I do hope you’re right. I’d sure love to put an end to the 971 days (and counting) of frustration.

  8. Eh, again I don’t think MLB needs the meetings to discuss the A’s issue, the owners already know the issues and there’s no need for delving into court dealings, finances, partnerships, etc. like they will have to do for the Dodgers. I also don’t see how they allow for a situation to continue where the A’s can stay outside of free agency and open themselves up to a collusion charge.

  9. I still think that there is the potential for the Rays owner to make a play for the Dodgers…and than for MLB to take the Rays back and begin to look for a move. I realize the Dodgers is an auction but remember the Judge told MLB to pre-qualify all prospective bidders–that does give MLB some leverage. As successful as the Rays are right now there doesn’t seem to be anyway around the current lease that goes out for the next 15 years I believe. Maybe marginalizing the team by having MLB own the asset will get a quicker resolution there than the current ownership group can forge—

  10. Yes, Wolff has been fully commited to SJ at least since 1998, with a slight detour through Fremont. Oakland was never on his map, regardless of what he says.
    In the meantime, enjoy your 2012 Oakland As, whoever the hell is playing for us next year. At least the Raiders know how to put a competitive team on the field.

  11. The A’s won’t be on the January agenda unless Selig is actively working the issue right now, which he is not. 2012 may well be the year San Jose is greenlighted, but May is the earliest possible date for an owner’s vote.

  12. *Breaking News*
    Lew Wolff has formally asked Selig for permission to bid on Dodgers.
    Gary Radninch, KNBR today 11/11/11

  13. well I guess that supports what Madden said above–LW asked Selig about bidding and Selig told him not to…that the move to SJ would come about…or is this “new news”

  14. I just e-mailed Radnich about details on this LW bidding rumor. I want clarification.

  15. lol – emailing radnich about a “rumor” while you can’t email JQ about VC….talking about needing some haterade….

  16. SMH—Why are people the way they are I keep asking myself?

  17. been searching around the past hour and have heard nobody else mention about this new news about wolff asking for permission to buy the dodgers.

    guess it’s more knbr propoganda and probably will hear more of it in the coming future.

  18. I can say, with almost absolute certainty, that Gary Radnich is wrong.

  19. I believe it is Radnich conflating the story everyone has linked all week. In order for Selig to give tacit approval so Wolff wouldn’t bid, doesn’t Wolff have to ask to bid first?

  20. The podcast from his show today isn’t up yet. I just want to hear exactly what he said. I just got this info off 2 A’s FB pages from two different guys who heard him say that. Wolff just said a few days ago that he’s not interested in LA. Reminds me of the false rumors last year at the Winter meeting that Oakland was picked. Several on here couldn’t believe it. I was happy there for most of the day, until MLB came out and said it wasn’t true.

  21. wrong or just old news—me thinks that one way LW was able to get some direction from bs was to say he and Fisher wanted to throw his hat in the ring for the dodgers–forced bs to make a decision…which is why I think we see things moving forward…IMHO

  22. Yeah, that’s exactly what I think Jeffrey; Radnich ran with the byline instead of the lede.

  23. And why would any self respecting A’s fan listen to KNBR these days, anyway? My dial is stuck on 95.7 (or NPR when I get tired of listening to some of the crap that is sports talk radio)

  24. I use to call Radnich and Pete Franklin up back in the day. Haven;t called in shows for years. Don’t listen to KNBR at all and 95.7 that much except for Tittle and sometimes Townsend. By the way, a friend of mine heard Towsend say recently that he’s all for a new Coliseum to be built for the A’s. I was kind of surprised because I thought he was pretty much for SJ.

  25. As much as I can’t stand KNBR for their crap coverage and constant dissing of the A’s, they did have one of the best segments in BA radio with Tony Bruno, Radnich, and Dan Dibley. But now there’s no reason to take a listen to them.

  26. I will be fascinated with next weeks meetings—I agree with Genaro–after nearly 3 years of study the other owners are pretty up to speed on the A’s situation..and for the TB owner to imply that something near term was going to happen seems to imply that discussions have gone on recently–maybe the A’s situation at this point is a mere formality—and if so why not take care of the easy stuff first and than focus on CBA and Dodgers…

  27. Townsend has been pro anywhere in the Bay Area for a long time. So many people confuse willingness to accept San Jose and honest analysis of the private financing scheme in either city with a preference for San Jose (because the type of revenue streams needed to privately finance a joint are more abundant in the South Bay). Most folks I know fit into a camp of people who don’t care either way with small factions who support only one or the other scenario. This camp includes me, ML and Chris Townsend.

  28. Townsend never has anything positive to say about Oakland.

  29. Fortunately, we have an owner willing to take on the formidable task of financing, privately, a ballpark. But some are upset because he insists on doing it in a place that is financially viable, not in a place where a privately financed ballpark would drown its owners in a sea of debt.

  30. I don’t care where they build the ballpark, though I truly believe a ballpark in San Jose would benefit the A’s the most.

  31. ^agree 100% and this coming from somebody whos was born and lived all his life in the city of oakland. just don’t believe the politicos have the will to build a 400-500 million dollar project especially after the coliseum/arena fiascos.

  32. I have heard Townsend hang up on people for bagging on Oakland.

  33. Oakland unfortunately rarely has anything positive to say about Oakland on the ballpark front.

  34. Everything that is happening and rumored to be happening seems to indicate Wolff/Fisher/Beane are gonna do all they can into provoking or forcing a Selig decision, that is the obvious strategy. Which means that after the Winter Meetings we can look for the 3 of them to pitch tents and strum guitars on Bud’s lawn… OCCUPY MLB!!!!

  35. Can we join them? Occupy MLB sounds like a great idea

  36. I’m in. Fist in the air!

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