It’s Black Friday, and MLB teams seem to have hit the snooze button a few too many times. Nobody expects much from the Oakland Athletics this offseason but teams in general are slogging through the first few weeks of free agency.
The Phillies agreed to a large deal with right-handed starter Aaron Nola, retaining his services for 7 years and $172 million. Nola has pitched in Philly for his entire 9-year MLB career, and his new deal takes him through his age 37 season. It’s possible that he spends his entire career pitching for the Phillies.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been posted by his NPB team, the Orix Buffaloes. He’s expected to command a significant salary, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting a deal worth 9-years and $225 million.
Teams have 45 days from the posting date, which was last Monday the 20th, to come to a deal with Yamamoto. It’s likely that it will take at least a few more weeks before Yamamoto decides where to sign. Outside of that, there’s not too much to report on either the MLB front, or in Athletics’ news.
There were a number of great stories written in the last week about the A’s relocation, but things will likely be a bit quiet transaction-wise until the winter meetings begin in early December.
Dayn Perry of CBS Sports wrote an excellent piece about the remaining question marks that might hold up the A’s relocation plans. Perry raises a number of questions about how the private financing is going to work, and the A’s current plan to fill the stadium each night.
"“In Las Vegas, he'll have the built-in excuses of debt service on all the private financing necessary to get the ballpark built plus the modest inflows from whatever local media contract he's able to finagle to justify his unwillingness to invest in the on-field product. There's nothing in his hapless record of ownership to suggest any kind of capacity for luring fans to the ballpark unless it's to heap ridicule and shame upon him.”"- Dayn Perry, CBS Sports
Fisher’s plan involves getting 8,000 out of town fans to the ballpark for every home game. The fact that the A’s will be so heavily reliant on tourism revenue is highly questionable and there are a number of factors that suggest their current plan to fill the stadium isn’t going to work.
Joe Sheehan has an excellent baseball newsletter that is subscription-based, but his recent piece comparing Peter Seidler and John Fisher was made free for everyone to read.
Sheehan eviscerates Fisher in the article, including this gem of a quote, “Peter Seidler and John Fisher were both born on third base. One decided to steal home, and the other decided to just steal.”
Sheehan also writes about Fisher’s unwillingness to strike a deal with the city of Oakland, instead deciding to uproot the team and move to Nevada for a significantly worse deal.
Alex Kirshner has an article up at The Guardian about the misfortunes of the city of Oakland. Kirshner has doubts about the A’s future success in Las Vegas, stating “The A’s will surely bring fans to the ballpark more regularly when they open their new stadium in Vegas. But unless the team changes its behavior, those fans will one day stop showing up to games, too.”
We’ve known for a while that the problem with the A’s isn’t the fans, it’s Fisher. Ownership’s refusal to spend more than the bare minimum to operate a major league franchise has set the team back significantly.
They’ve gutted the front office and analytics staff in addition to running a laughably low payroll for decades. There are some who believe Fisher’s lies that those habits will change once the A’s are a permanent revenue sharing recipient in MLB’s smallest television market.
Do yourself a favor and see through the sentiment. Fisher has always been a liar, and he’s never cared enough to invest the necessary funds into the team to turn it into a true contender.
Lastly, Andy McCullough of The Athletic ($) wrote a piece suggesting one good Black Friday deal for every MLB team. He pegs second baseman Kolten Wong for the Athletics, though he does question the validity of the exercise for our team in particular, stating “The Athletics are slated to play another season of Major League Baseball in 2024, and so we must include them in this exercise.”
It’s unfortunate that this is what the A’s have become. Let’s hope that your weekend is a bit better than John Fisher’s.