The buzz Friday has been all about Giancarlo Stanton reportedly nearing a 13-year, $325M deal. The specifics have not been released, and the deal is not yet official, but we wanted to know why the Oakland A’s can’t do something like this.
When looking at attendance figures, the A’s actually drew more fans per game than the Marlins, on an average of 25,045 to 21,386. When looking a little deeper, I found these numbers on Forbes.
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On paper, the A’s have the money. The Marlins biggest asset is their new ballpark, which was largely financed by the city of Miami, and Miami-Dade County. The A’s bring in more revenue than the Marlins, and generate more revenue per fan ($44 to $13).
There is a lot more information out there on the financial side of things, but that is not what this is about. This is about the A’s finally showing a player the money. Oakland tried this once with Eric Chavez, when he signed a 6-year, $66M contract all those years ago. Injuries de-railed what looked like a a great deal for both sides when it was signed. It feels as though the A’s have taken the “fool me once” approach since that deal.
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Is the problem that the A’s don’t have a player they feel they need to lock up? Well, there’s obviously Josh Donaldson, who has been at the MVP table the past two seasons, but he is also 29, and could begin a decline in the next couple of seasons. The A’s can’t afford to pay a declining player and stay competitive. Then there is the younger Sonny Gray, who looks to be the ace of the staff for years to come. But do you want to sign a pitcher long-term?
There are a couple of other options for the A’s to spend all of their money. One, just up the payroll past $100M, acquiring the players they feel will make them team competitive. That’s a start. If we really want to go all Giancarlo Stanton, we could attempt to acquire a Matt Kemp-type player that is already under contract for a large sum. I don’t like that route, because that also involves giving up young talent.
Another option is waiting (ugh) for Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson to arrive in Oakland, seeing how they do, and then locking both of them up through arbitration. The deals wouldn’t be terribly expensive, since they are so young, and arbitration years are generally cheaper. The limited risk involved could also pay huge dividends down the line with these signings being a showing of good faith to the fans, which the Oakland faithful would definitely respond to.
A’s fans are clamoring for a player to stay long-term. We need a player whose jerseys we can buy without worrying whether or not they’ll be gone in a year or two. If they were to sign someone, anyone, to a deal that was remotely close to $100M the fans wouldn’t feel as slighted, and ownership may finally see the real revenue they’ve been looking for.