1.13.2005

Do the A's Know the Way to San Jose? Giants should lead them there... for a price!

With the news that Lew Wolff is thinking of buying the A's, the rumors have been swirling that he's going to bring the A's to the South Bay to San Jose. It makes a lot of sense. He was a principal figure in the attempt to bring the Giants down to San Jose before the Magowan led group bought the Giants. He has a lot of connections down in the South Bay and, more importantly, is politically connected as well. He has a lot of money, so he could conceivably invest a chunk of money into a new stadium as well if push comes to shove (and it will).

However, Magowan and company is "pissing" all over the territory, marking it as their, and stating something like "A's, you know the story, the whole South Bay is Giant's territory!" And Wolff has taken the politically correct stance by saying that he is concentrating on staying in Oakland. But everything is negotiable for a price and Wolff could be blowing heart-shaped bubbles now about how fair baseball rules are about the South Bay being Giants property but could look into moving into the South Bay ONCE baseball owners OK him as the new owner (and even that is a maybe, he is only thinking of doing it, he's taking to March to decide whether to buy the team or not) and once he gives Oakland the perfunctory period to hem and haw about fiscal constraints and responsibilities to their constituents (i.e. Darth Davis) before he declares that Oakland is no go, lets head south.

I think the Giants should keep up this public front about owning the South Bay but privately let it be known that the A's moving to San Jose is negotiable - for a huge dowry/bribe/blackmail. Negotiable starting with what has been proposed so far for the Washington Nationals move into the Orioles' "territory".

Technically, Washington, D.C. is not official Orioles territory but since they are the closest team, they have been acting like a claims jumper and claiming that area. And yet MLB is proposing giving him a host of valuable parting gifts, including guaranteeing that his franchise will be worth $200M more than he paid for it, giving him 60% of the revenues of a regional sports network in combo with the Nationals, and the whip cream on top: guaranteeing that the Orioles' revenue would never fall below the average of what they earned before the Nationals moved to Washington. And he doesn't even have a legit claim, they just want to pay him to go away.

Think about what the Giants could get then with a legitimate claim on the territory. Start with the guarantees on the value of the franchise and revenue level plus 60% of the revenues of a regional sports network. Especially, make the revenue guarantee exclude the extra revenues that 60% of a regional sports network would generate, so that the Giants revenues are guaranteed to be increased for the term of the guarantee. Extend the guarantees to the end of the loan payments the Giants have to make, which ends in 2019. Then let the imagination flow on what else they would get in addition: a compensation fee for the loss of the area, say, $50M? $100M? More? Perhaps they get a cut of the revenues of the A's in their new stadium for, say, 5 to 10 seasons, its negotiable.

This would give the Giants money now plus money later to spend on free agents. And personally, I would forgo the guarantee on the value of the franchise and go for more cold, hard cash, cash that the Giants could immediately allocate and use to acquire T.O.A.B. (The One After Barry). In any case, with the team's pitching looking to be populated with a lot of promising young pitchers over the next 5-10 years, they can use the extra money from the cheap pitchers and A's move to San Jose to buy the offense that will be missing once Bonds is gone. Plus be able to spend more so that the Giants offense will be much more balanced and yet still potent offensively despite the loss of their once in a generation player.

The Giants need to do this if they are not willing to sell the club to owners with more money or at least take on additional owners who would buy, say, 30-40% of the team, which would bring in about $150-200M in the Giants coffers. Look at the D-backs. Just about a year or so ago, there were fears that they were going to go bankrupt with the huge deferred payments that they have hanging over their heads. Now with their new owner group in place putting in boatloads of money, they are spending money left and right (though fortunately not too wisely, overpaying for Ortiz and Green, plus I think Glaus had some health problems too if I remember right, then bringing in retreads in Royce Clayton and Craig Counsell to "stabilize" their middle infield - what happened to their vaunted "Baby Backs"?). I don't think that they have done enough to compete for the division title to the end of the season but they will at least be competitive throughout most of the season with these changes.

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