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.