EDITORIAL UPDATE: Selig's office denies NY Times report
After a winter filled with hope and excitement about the progression of the Oakland A's, the news came down Sunday that MLB is likely to uphold the San Francisco Giants' territorial rights in San Jose, the location the A's were looking to build a new stadium and relocate to, according to Bill Madden of the New York Times.
Billy Beane spent his offseason blowing up his pitching staff for top prospects and picking up fan-intriguing players like Manny Ramirez and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes in hopes of making the team a more profitable, possible playoff-contender ready to jump to San Jose in a few seasons. Now he's stuck in Oakland, but he's still hopeful about his squad:
"For the last 15 years it's been business as usual in Oakland except the cycles are closer payroll-wise versus revenues," Beane said by phone from Arizona. "We had a two-fold problem. We needed payroll room to put together an entire new outfield (after the free-agent departures of Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui) and we needed to replenish our farm system. So we traded our three best assets and got back 10 young players plus payroll room to sign (center fielder) Coco Crisp (signed for two years, $14 million) and Cespedes.
With so many decisions essentially hinging on this move, a no vote would be a terrible thing for the organization. But some aren't as concerned yet, like co-owner Lew Wollf, who certainly didn't believe the report:
"I spoke to Bud today on another matter, he didn't bring it up," Wolff told this newspaper Saturday night. "I think he would have told me if that's the case. We talked about something else. I think he would have alerted me or the Giants if he had made a decision."
The report cited no sources, but noted that a two/thirds vote of MLB ownership would have to vote yes to give the green light to the A's. But that could possibly open the flood gates on trying to take territorial rights all over the country, something the league certainly wants to avoid. The Giants' territorial rights to San Jose are part of the MLB constitution as a result of former A's owner Wally Haas agreeing to cede them in 1989 to then Giants owner Bob Lurie, who was looking into relocation at the time.
He never did, and now the A's are left dangling in the wind.
One official in the N.Y. Times report had a last-resort type effort for this team along with the Tampa Bay Rays; Contraction:
"The A's and Rays are both in hopeless situations, and there's no place to move these teams. Hard as this might be to swallow for a lot of us, it would be in the best interests of baseball to contract both of them. You'd have a better game, and it would be two less teams we all have to subsidize."
Hope it doesn't have to come to this.
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