Rosenthal has scoop on San Jose (Updated with analysis)

Read Fox Sports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal’s new article on A’s-to-San Jose move developments, then check back here for analysis and discussion.

The big stuff from Rosenthal:

  • MLB wants a larger seating capacity than 32,000. FWIW, last year I explained how the A’s could get up to either 36,000 or 38,000 by simply adding four rows to one or both seating levels.
  • Selig supposedly warned Wolff that $180 million precluded a move to the South Bay. First, take a look at the chart of recent franchise sales I posted last May. Then consider two takeaways from this: 1) Wolff may have to pay compensation to enter Santa Clara County even if he disagrees with it, 2) An Oakland or East Bay-based A’s automatically has a depressed value, as was speculated when Steve Schott lacked interest in Uptown. How does MLB reconcile those two problems, which are clearly related?
  • The usual back-and-forth between Wolff and critics, and the Giants’ continued intransigence.
  • MLB could explore the Montreal option and buy the club and resell when they get a stadium deal and a buyer for the team. Of course, that only hastened the Expos’ departure from Montreal. Also, MLB has to know by now that $500 million for an Oakland ballpark with the economic and political climate in California is going to be more than a little difficult. It goes back to bullet point #2 above: if MLB and prospective owners know that Oakland and the East Bay are limited in terms of revenue generation, what is the financial incentive to build there? How does that help the franchise or MLB for that matter?
  • There’s a claim that the Giants would have to hit 3.2 million in attendance in order to “break even” with a projected $130 million payroll in 2012. That’s a curious point, and one I’d ascribe to a talking point from someone in the Giants, until I looked at the numbers. This past season, the Giants hit a $114 million payroll figure on $230 million in revenue (49.5%). Historically, the Giants have been at around 52-53% of revenue over the course of the last CBA, though in 2008 they hit 56%. That’s probably their upper limit, and $130 million in payroll would speak to that unless they got some new revenue stream out of nowhere. Or unless someone took some dead weight contracts off their hands.

All of the things I’ve been hearing leading up to the owners meetings is that some sort of resolution is due as soon as January. Rosenthal’s article certainly supports this, and actually gives a tiny amount of credence to the idea that Selig is being thorough. (Imagine that?) The path to resolution, as described by Rosenthal, is not the easiest to negotiate.

That’s a lot to take in for a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’ll be off to a birthday party soon, so my contributions to the comments thread may be limited the rest of the day. I’ll still check in every so often, so behave yourselves.

Added 4:20 PM – The Merc’s Scott Herhold picks apart the San Jose ballpark land deal, calls critics “short-sighted”.

51 thoughts on “Rosenthal has scoop on San Jose (Updated with analysis)

  1. Increased ballpark capacity!! Woo hoo!

  2. @TonyD – “Selig, sources say, warned Athletics owner Lew Wolff that he could not plan on moving to the South Bay when Wolff’s group purchased the team for a depressed price of $180 million in 2005.”

  3. As I recall it was bs who told LW he could explore SJ after Fremont fell thru- and the fact that the A’s have agreed to expand the capacity as requested by MLB should tell you somethibg-

  4. How can Oakland afford to pony up 250 mil? Land aquisition, site prep, etc…

  5. It’s almost over 🙂

  6. Nice to hear there actual activity on the stadium front. Selig is actually working on this, and meeting with the A’s and Giants. And the fact that Selig said to increase the stadium capacity from 32,000 to something higher, and the A’s agreeing, is a strong indicator that Selig is moving in the direction of making the territory shared.

    And, I really don’t care if the Giants say their territorial rights are non-negotiable. They know, as well as everyone else knows, that they and the A’s draw from all over the Bay Area, and Nor Cal. The Giants parading the world series trophy right through the A’s minuscule territory is irrefutable proof of this. And all other two team markets are completely shared.

  7. @Jeffrey,
    Its almost over indeed! Don’t you love it david!
    With all due respect to Rosenthal, its amazing that the media still pumps up the Giants corporate support out of Silicon Valley as if it wasn’t less than 25% (SVLG Poll of a few years back). A’s in south bay would “destabilize” the Giants? Shut the @#$%& up already Baer!
    Much, much easier to move the A’s to SJ and compensation for Giants than “nuclear option” Montrealization scenario. And why do the Giants have territorial rights to SJ again?
    Champagne at the ready!

  8. @Jeffrey – I’ve said this before but your comment makes it seem as if you have inside information. Maybe I’m reading into it incorrectly but to say that it’s “almost over,” especially after someone mentioned an Oakland financial package certainly makes me think either, a) Your response is speculation, b) You responded while discounting the Oakland post entirely, or c) You know something none of us know. While it’s certainly possible that the Oakland post is speculation also, I’m just surprised that you didn’t respond to that particular post. Over the last few months I’ve begun to believe that there are those who have inside connections to what is transpiring and this just reinforces my suspicion. I’m not outright accusing you of anything mind you, however, I’m just curious how you can say with such certainty that it’s “almost over.”??? You might reply that it’s simply a response to all of the info from the MLB meetings, and that’s why you said that, etc. but I’m still a bit perplexed why you wouldn’t at least address David’s post. Just curious.

  9. That post of FB is from the Chris Townsend Page and the person who posted on BaseballOakland (Not Sara who posted on CT’s page) has a history of not telling the whole story. There is more to what she posted. This is the full statement she made:

    “This package/proposal which was given to MLB included a financial structure in which the City would provide $250M of the cost. Mr. Hunter explained that since they submitted that package, they have not received a response from MLB.”

    That last sentence changes things quite a bit.

    • That post of FB is from the Chris Townsend Page and the person who posted on BaseballOakland (Not Sara who posted on CT’s page) has a history of not telling the whole story. There is more to what she posted. This is the full statement she made:“This package/proposal which was given to MLB included a financial structure in which the City would provide $250M of the cost. Mr. Hunter explained that since they submitted that package, they have not received a response from MLB.”That last sentence changes things quite a bit.

      Probably made before RDA’s death sentence and all the current troubles in The O as well.

  10. By the way, why even talk about the Giants breaking even in the present when 1) Cisco Field won’t open until 2015 and 2) the Giants will pay off their ballpark debt two years later in 2017 (an automatic $20 million a year raise!). The fact that the Giants are relatively close to paying off the ballpark note will probably pay a big role in terms of Giants compensation and making it through the supposed “lean years.”

  11. My “sources” – which constitute solely my own thinking all along – indicate that Selig is going to approach the Giants with a pretty solid compensation package in mind. As ML intimated in the OP, nearly three years later, it would seem that the Blue Ribbon Panel has gathered enough factual evidence to determine:

    1) how much the South Bay really is worth to the Giants long-term
    2) how much LW and the A’s are willing to pay for the initial rights to build there
    3) how much MLB collectively stands to gain for the move to SJ
    4) how much a possible relocation and/or ownership shuffle of the A’s would cost the league over the long team

    Among those determinations, it would seem to me that a fair arrangement can be bartered amongst the parties involved.

    As an A’s fan, I honestly wouldn’t be opposed to seeing an in-kind transfer of Barry Zito’s contract to the A’s as part of the compensation. We all know it’s a horrendous contract relative to his actual worth, but honestly, he hasn’t been a disastrous pitcher the past few years. With the help of the Coliseum and Curt Young, I could see Zito settling back to being a durable 4.00 FIP guy. Certainly not worth the $46 million he is owed in guaranteed money the next three years, but as part of an overall move to get the A’s to a better and viable position? Pshaw…that could actually serve both parties in the short-term fairly well…

  12. I’m skeptical how Oakland comes up with $250 million for a ballpark, but as long as either San Jose or Oakland gets the team, everything is OK. If a new ballpark gets built in Oakland (I have my doubts that it can) it’s just business as usual for me – my Oakland A’s sweatshirt stays current instead of becoming a collector’s item. If Wolff has to pony up some $$ in return for raising the franchise’s value by moving to San Jose, then let’s get it done.

    re: if MLB and prospective owners know that Oakland and the East Bay are limited in terms of revenue generation, what is the financial incentive to build there?
    …yes, I’ve always wondered this myself

  13. @Tony D- She said this happened on Thursday.

  14. Wow! So the announcement was made with RDA on life support with The O’s current troubles? Even more baffling. Oh well.

  15. From the Baseball Oakland facebook page:

    Sara Dunaway over on the Townsend group through an group she is with spoke to Gregory Hunt, Deputy Director of Redevelopment for The Town. He said that the package presented to MLB for the VC site included “a financial structure in which the city would provide $250M of the cost.”

    This was also the 1st time I was made aware of this. Hunt also brought of a lot of what we know already, like how the city went to MLB instead of the A’s with everything due to Wolff and Fisher having their heads in each other’s ass.

    I’d be more excited about this if it were from something other than a failbook posting by someone with an obvious axe to grind.

  16. It’s a great data point or SJ voters- Oakland willing to put in $250M ….SJ putting in a fraction of that

  17. This sounds like bs. Is it Gregory Hunt or Gregory Hunter, i.e. Hunt-ER???

  18. Good to hear capacity at Cisco will be increased if approved. I wonder about those field dimensions.Will they remain the same

  19. I think he (Selig) was waiting for the new CBA to be done and for Baer to be formally made chieftain of the Giants… now that those are all done with, I am not surprised he is maybe pushing to resolve what is, going into next season especially, an eyesore situation for the overall MLB product that detracts overall from their image he wants it to have of a harmonious, consensus fraternity of 30 teams. I was thinking if he lets the A’s die on the vine without an answer for another season — especially since Wolff/Beane have flatly stated no free agents will be looked at and no moves made until they have their answer — will cause more negative press and scrutiny on the situation and Selig doesn’t want that as he transitions out. It’s a bit like a President passing difficult or prized legislation in the last year of his last term in that there’s a concern for the legacy thing, pretentious and self-absorbedly hubristic as that might seem to people.

  20. @ML “Selig supposedly warned Wolff that $180 million precluded a move to the South Bay.”
    Rosenthal’s article actually says, “Selig, sources say, warned Athletics owner Lew Wolff that he could not plan on moving to the South Bay when Wolff’s group purchased the team for a depressed price of $180 million in 2005.”
    Saying you can’t plan on doing something and saying you are precluded from doing something are two very different things.

  21. Has anyone considered how much say Zito would have in where he plays because of his 10 and 5 rights?

  22. Wolff got a bargain deal at $180 in 2006, 50% higher than the sale price was 7 years earlier when Piccinin/Dolich/Zimmer got effed over by BS. Now 5 years later, they’re worth 75% more at around $320 million.
    Also, I knew 32k was too small of a capacity, BARTLEBY. VC was planned for 39k, which is perfect, with less suites cuz who the hell wants the 1%ers at the game anyways? I know you need that additional money to compete, but I’d rather have a park for the true fans, the 99%ers. A new at 38-40k would work too.

  23. @david – Considering Zito is a DFA candidate if he continues to suck for the Gnats, he’d should be thrilled to go back to the A’s.

  24. MLB asked A’s/SJ to increase capacity of Cisco the very first time the BRC came to SJ to check out Diridon – BDP laid the groundwork of what it would take in MLB’s eyes.

  25. the question about the field dimensions is answered in this thread.

    LF line goes from 305 ft to 328 ft.
    LF remains about the same.
    CF goes from 405 ft to 402 ft.
    RF goes from 345 ft to 376 ft.
    RF line goes from 302 ft to 314 ft.

    if the dimensions expand to those of the above link and the seats get expanded anywhere from 36k-38k in the link posted here……i think that’d solve a lot of issue for a’s fans who’ve had questions regarding the park and it’s details when it was first released in the summer of 2010.

  26. @jk “Also, I knew 32k was too small of a capacity, BARTLEBY.”
    Just because that’s what Selig wants doesn’t mean his judgment is better than Wolff’s, but of course Wolff has little choice but to go along. Are you seriously going to start defending Bud now?
    “VC was planned for 39k, which is perfect, with less suites cuz who the hell wants the 1%ers at the game anyways?”
    Yes, it’s perfect, because you don’t need real money to build a fantasy ballpark. Why on earth would we want to include the only people who could possibly pay for such a thing?
    “I know you need that additional money to compete, but I’d rather have a park for the true fans, the 99%ers.”
    Yep, just like in Pittsburgh. Those games are a lot of fun, I’ll tell ya.

  27. lets be serious, any new sports venue will see a huge group of if you wanna call them “1%ers” buying up a good portion of the seats especially expensive seats. to think all you’re gonna need or want is blue collor people sitting in the majority of the seats isn’t even realistic thinking.

  28. some responses at mlbtr regarding this subject.

    “Fans of the A’s that live in Oakland, would you rather the team move to San Jose, which is an hour away, so they can get a new stadium, have fans, and actually compete. Or would you rather them move to Portland or Charlotte? In San Jose you can still drive down and catch a game on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if they move to Portland or Charlotte you will never see your team play live again. To me this is a no brainer for A’s fans . San Jose and Oakland are in the same large metro area and is in driving distance so you can still attend games. I know it’s embarrassing to see all of the empty seats in Oakland for a team with 9 world series titles. The Athletics should be one of the marquee teams in MLB and instead it’s a second thought.”

    we’ve all read or heard this argument before for the pro oakland folks. if sj fails, what the odds that mlb finds an ownere willing to spend up to possibly a billion dollars to buy the a’s franchise and then build a 400-500 million dollar 35k-40k venue in the city of oakland somewhere.

    “I’m a Giants fan and I’m ashamed by the way my team has treated the A’s on this. Especially with the Giants riding so high, having just won a World Series, selling out the entire year in their beautiful bayside stadium, etc. The A’s, meanwhile, have no money, play in a crumbling shithole, and are generally drowning, and the Giants are eager to throw them an anvil. Not cool.”

    props to the sfg fan, and there are a lot who feel the complete opposite of the one who posted the above response, who has the balls to call out his franchise’s attempt in basically wanting the a’s to fail and leave the area.

  29. @bartleby–Pittsburgh games are a lot of fun in that wonderful park; I went there in 2003,.The 23k fans really enjoyed themselves . It’s too bad the team always sucks and they can’t draw more The A’s in a new park in Oakland would do better than Pitt, even in the lean years. We’ve had 5 so-so years in a row and are a little less in attendnace with them in our subpar venue with lousy Lew one-foot-out-the-door killing are fanbase: Pitt=8.4 mill the last 5 years; A’s=7.8 mill. The previous 6 years, from the inagaural opening of PNC, we did have very good teams (Pitt still sucked) and beat them in attendance in our same subpar venue with the other carpetbaggers at the helm: Pitt=11.1 mill; Oak=12.8 mill

  30. I am neither an A’s or Giants fan, nor do I live in the Bay Area (Huge Yankees from New York), so I can be objective with this. The reality of the matter is the A’s have not had a new ballpark built for them, since 1914 (In Philadelphia), so it is time. What Selig has been doing over the last couple of years is fixing up his legacy (Which was tarnished over steroids and labor issues). What was accomplished? 1: Getting McCourt out of LA. 2: Labor peace for 5 years (Extremely relevant with the possibility of no NBA season). 3: Getting testing for HGH, in the new labor agreement, with a 50 game penalty for being caught 4: Getting the Astros situation under control. 5: The Marlins going into a new Stadium. That essentially leaves two issues left: The A’s and the new TV deal (The Rays are an issue for the future). The new TV deal could be a huge ace in the hole when it comes to satisfying the demands of the Giants. As we saw with Houston, in exchange for having the Astros moved to the AL, MLB & Drayton McClane, essentially have kicked in $60m to Jim Crane to get it done. This might be the solution when it comes to the A’s… Get the Giants paid off so they can move to San Jose. The reality of the matter, is the ugly incident with “Occupy Oakland”, is just another reminder that Oakland is not a professional sports town anymore (Raiders included). There is a lot of discussion about SF, and the ballpark, but it is not just the Giants. Look at Stanford with their Stadium (Certainly helped with recruiting guys like Luck, and interest in the program). Even left-wing Berkeley will have a new football and sports facility, that looks so good, that the tree hugging radicals who opposed it in the first place, have shut their mouths (It will really help the Bears compete in the Pac-12). This goes back to the A’s, They need to have a place where they can develop a winning team, and more importantly, a fan base. I see this Giants/A’s dispute at its end game, where within the next five years the A’s will get to San Jose.

  31. I’m back to being optimistic. Selig asking for, and getting, increased capacity at Cisco, is telling. Also, Selig planning on meeting with the Gs presumably to go over with them the A’s situation, is a good indicator. I’m thinking it’ll be something like “look, we’re out of options with the A’s, and letting the current situation continue is bad for baseball. It’s time for you to play ball.”

    And I love the one comment by that one Gs fan, about the Gs throwing an anvil. It sums up the situation nicely. Sadly, the one’s I’ve encountered feel the opposite. They want the A’s to just go away. By contrast, A’s fans just want the best for their team, and have no intinsic desire to srew their neighbor, as many G’s fans apparently do. This is one of the reasons while growing up I naturally gravitated towards the A’s – their fans just seemed like cooler people.

  32. Columbo, I have no inside information. I didn’t respond to the Oakland thing because, well I hadn’t read the thing but don’t really need to. It sounds, from Rosenthal’s article that MLB is now pushing for resolution. With two potential paths: San Jose with Wolff/Oakland without Wolff. I don’t care either way.

  33. There’s always been a part of me that wants SJ for the sole purpose of “because the Giants don’t want us there.” They probably have the same information as everyone else, and have concluded that Oakland is the best place for the A’s from their perspective. Why should the A’s just go along with what they want, and cement themselves as the second-fiddle team?

    I hope Wolff gets what he wants and gives the Giants the finger at every opportunity.

  34. So, jk, if the 1% aren’t welcome… Shall the 99% pay for a huge development project with a new tax, or what?

  35. David Brown, occupy anywhere doesn’t rule out any city as a pro sports town. That is sort of ridiculous.

  36. I’ve finally had a chance to read the comments thread. My thoughts:

    @bartleby – Is there really that much a distinction there, given the way we understand how MLB works?

    Re: Oakland’s $250 million package. It’s hard to say anything about it without knowing what’s in it. Is it based on redevelopment money? If so it’s dead. MLB would be crazy to consider something like that at this juncture.

    Re: Capacity. The method I described would probably be the cheapest way to get the seating up. If MLB wanted the A’s to build a third deck, it could be prohibitively expensive.

    Re: Compensation to the Giants. One thing to keep in mind: if the Giants were to offload Zito, not only does it mean $46 million gone over the next three years, it practically acts as a $40 million per year shot in the arm over the next two years.

  37. Jeffrey, what we saw with “Occupy Oakland” and the shutting down of the port was far worse than what we saw anywhere else (Wall Street Included). The reality of the matter is Oakland is not exactly the best city in this country when it comes to how police are viewed (And conversely,how they poorly they perceive the City Government) , running a business , fan participation, raising a family, crime rates or unemployment figures. All of which makes it difficult for the A’s or even the Raiders to be successful. If I am the A’s I am asking the Dionne Warwick question ASAP: “Do You Know The way To San Jose?.”

  38. That the A’s can’t maintain an $80 million payroll if they stay at the Coliseum seems like a bigger problem to me then the Giants and their bloated veteran contracts.

  39. I can just imagine OOccupy getting wind of this supposed $250million subsidy for the 1% baseball ownership. Talk about a field day at the E. Coli-seum! But hey, if Oakland can pull it off, more power to them. It’s all going to be over soon! /woot

  40. @David Brown Your description fits many Major League urban centers throughout this country. If you are for the San Jose move, fine, but enough with imagining only Oakland is dealing with these particular issues. Also, there is no substantial evidence that shows the Raiders want to bolt and distance themselves from their partnership with the community of Oakland. Why are you acting like there is?
    @ Anon “E. Coli-seum?” Haven’t you spent many a day and night having a blast and seeing division championships and even championships at the Coliseum? It’s crusty and old, but it has housed great memories for ALL A’s fans. Low blow man.

  41. I’d like to note that in the article it mentions Selig’s contacts to various interest when the local media and analysis said it was quiet.
    My only surprise is that they left open the door for a collusion charge by not addressing the A’s but whatever.

  42. @eb–just ignore a-holes like Anon. Overall, most A’s fans are a pretty cool bunch, but not him, and aren’t worth my time anymore on here. Cheap shot at the OO and, he should be banned from posting on here. He must drink Hateraid by the case.
    BTW, I’ve seen about 1000 A’s games and just over 100 Raider games and have had nothing but great memories of the Coliseum. New venues for both there would be cool. Create a Coliseum City, with a sports museum, hotel, and stuff to do before and after the games.

  43. @jk-usa – You’re calling someone an a-hole and asking for him to be banned? That’s rich. Pot, kettle, black.

  44. See what I mean, ML? They’re losing grip.

  45. @ML–Well, I’ve tried to be decent on here, ignoring the guy but he never stops being a jerk, that’s the why the a-hole remark. I think he relishes that and loves the attention.That’s the last I’ll say about this and him for now on. It’s just that OO and remark was not cool.
    @LS–i’m good dude, but just don’t like this guys crap all the time.

  46. Sometimes I think that no matter how hard ML works to make this blog a reasonable, fact-based exploration of the stadium issues, the comments are always going to just devolve into infantile pissing matches between extreme partisans. He could make a post about what Ken Rosenthal had for dinner and below it you’d just see that same stuff: Oakland is dirty and crime-ridden and bad people live there and it sucks! San Jose is a sprawling craptropolis with pollution and bad people who want to carpetbag the A’s and it sucks! Oakland has 25 billion dollars in anonymous corporate sponsorships and Jean Quan has promised that she will build it there even if she has to gas every protestor in the 510 to do it! San Jose has the land, the site, 250 thousand billion million of Cisco’s backing and Chuck Reed has promised to give Billy Beane a full-body massage on the pitcher’s mound as soon as it’s built! I really wish people would forget about the staggeringly miniscule 50 miles of geographic difference and commit their minds to uniting behind saving the Athletics in The Bay Area. But I realize there are more important competitions to be had, such as those to see which city’s most ardent and fanatical supporters can most vitriolically spew invective against the other’s, so I guess a more realistic wish would be for aliens to land on the White House lawn and declare that the A’s must move to the tenth moon of Jupiter. [[sigh}}

  47. @ eb / JaKoff – ROFLMAO! Sensitive much aren’t we? Can’t take a joke at the outrageous naming at the decrepit Coliseum joint? Don’t worry, both your miseries will come to an end soon. Regardless of the outcome, I will be happy. Can you say the same about yourselves? 😉

  48. The A’s are coming to San Jose, read between the lines and you will see:

    1. Oakland’s 250M dollar package was for infrastructure, moving businesses, and fixing the transportation issues at VC. They have maintained the A’s would have to pay for the ballpark themselves….This has been a consistent message from day 1 of the BRC. If MLB felt Oakland had a good enough package they would have moved on it….You will see below Selig has been dreading the day coming up in 2 weeks with the Giants.

    2. They want the ballpark to be larger than 32,000 fans. Rosenthal mentions the exact # of 32,000. Oakland’s ballpark is supposed to be 39,000…Why mention the difference if Oakland was the choice? San Jose is supposed to be 32,000 seats…..Tells you something very distinct.

    3. If MLB was willing to purchase the A’s and build in Oakland they would have done so before RDA funds were taken by Uncle Jerry. MLB would have come forward already,..why? Because The A’s are already in Oakland and the East Bay is their territory…Plus they could avoid the upcoming clash with the Giants.

    4. Selig is meeting the Giants in 2 weeks. I can feel confident that “all options have been exhausted”. Selig has dreaded forcing the Giants hand. He has been praying for an Oakland miracle or another city to build a free ballpark like he got pre-recession in Washington DC. We can safely say at this point none of what he hoped for has happened.

    5. If MLB is going to open up San Jose they realize the Giants claims are not of substance and the A’s claims are. They realize now because of no other choice San Jose is the only way and that it is a “profitable way” to go.

    In conclusion, Selig is going to give the Giants a final offer or vote them of the island in two weeks,. He has the votes as evidenced by Tampa Bay’s owner’s comment of “hook and crook” about the A’s situation.

    3 years he waited almost because he had a 2015 opening date either in Oakland, San Jose, or another city. Wolff securing the land in San Jose was because he was given “tacit assurance” he would be allowed to move. Selig knows now there is no other way at this point and in order to make the 2015 deadline he needs to move now in a orderly fashion.

    Rejoice A’s fans! The Giants have lost, MLB is going to compensate the Giants without a dime from the A’s.

    Despite my doubts Selig is finally going to do the “right thing” and let the A’s into the largest and richest city in the Bay Area after all these years.

    It is about damn time…..”All options have been exhausted”!!!

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