MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred commented on the Athletics' relocation efforts on Thursday afternoon, stating that the A's need to decide on a temporary home for the 2025-2027 seasons in the next few months.
As far as we know, the options still on the table for the A's are Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, Smith Ballpark in Salt Lake City, and Oracle Park in San Francisco. It's extremely unlikely that the A's will remain in the Coliseum unless the league office forces the issue.
The comments from Manfred came after an MLB owners' meeting in Orlando earlier Thursday morning.
MLB is likely concerned about scheduling issues due to the unknown status of the A's ballpark. It's unusual for a professional team to not have any idea where it'll play its games for a significant stretch of time. Unfortunately for the league, that's exactly the situation John Fisher has put his team in.
Manfred also mentioned that he would be disappointed if the A's aren't in their new Las Vegas ballpark by the start of the 2028 season. As was pointed out at Athletics Nation yesterday, Manfred has explicitly said that the A's and the Rays need to figure out their ballpark situations before the league can consider expansion.
Expansion will bring a substantial short-term cash windfall to the league so it's easy to see why Manfred and the owners would want to move forward with the process. Manfred's current contract runs to 2029, so getting both existing ballpark situations figured out and the expansion process underway would be a big feather in his cap when it comes time to re-up his contract.
The uncertainty surrounding the A's situation is partly due to Manfred and the other owners railroading Fisher's relocation plan through with seemingly no regard to the feasibility of it. The relocation fee was waived despite Fisher not having ballpark renderings or having secured financing for the project.
The team had scheduled to release ballpark renderings two months ago and as it stands, Fisher claims that they're now waiting on Bally's and GLPI to release a collective rendering of the hotel and ballpark complex.
MLB owners have to be shaking their heads at this farce of a situation, wondering why they let Fisher move forward with this process with no real plan in place. They'll never say so publicly but there's no chance that the other owners all approve of how Fisher has gone about this relocation.
We're now less than a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and all we seemingly have to talk about here is John Fisher's idiotic business ideas. Baseball can't come soon enough.