Commissioner Manfred on A's Staying in Oakland: "It Just Doesn't Look Like It's Going to Happen"

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Commissioner Manfred on A’s Staying in Oakland: “It Just Doesn’t Look Like It’s Going to Happen”

Chicago Cubs

An up-front reminder on these stadium/relocation stories: I follow them really closely not only because it is simply interesting to me to think about a longstanding MLB team changing cities, but also because we know that once the situations in Oakland and Tampa are resolved, expansion is almost certainly coming. And when expansion comes, realignment is coming with it. Whatever team you care most about in MLB, it’s going to impact your team one way or another.

I don’t believe that Major League Baseball has always wanted the Athletics to move to Las Vegas, but I do believe they have fully supported the notion that the organization will either get significant money from Oakland to make a new stadium work, or the move is real. This isn’t one of those situations where you’re talking about mere idle threats in order to squeeze as much as possible, knowing full well the team is going to stay either way.

Over the last year or two, it definitely seems like things have moved more and more toward a move happening, and now Commissioner Rob Manfred is just laying it out there:

The A’s lease on the Coliseum runs through the 2024 season, and with previous talks on a new stadium deal having ground to a halt earlier this year, the problem is time. A new city council will come in after the election, and then, what, they’re going to start from scratch in January and get a deal done almost immediately? That’s what it would take for the A’s and MLB to hold off starting the Vegas project – because that is going to need multiple years to get off the ground and be ready to go.

Not that Las Vegas will get the A’s without having to pay to make it happen:

It seems pretty unlikely that the A’s and MLB will look elsewhere besides Las Vegas, because a lot of groundwork has already been laid there – and territory rights are so challenging in any case that MLB is not going to want to lose one of the most obvious and safest spots, geographically speaking.

Had I to guess, the A’s and MLB will give Oakland one last shot to get something fully and finally into place in the first quarter of 2023, after the new political body takes shape. If a deal doesn’t happen almost immediately, though, I would expect full-speed-ahead on Las Vegas.

At the same time, as Manfred indicated, a deal to keep the Rays in Tampa is expected at this point. The silly two-city plan with Montreal is dead, and the Tampa/St. Petersburg area is still one where MLB wants to keep a foothold.

My personal hope is that both of these situations are resolved and etched in stone within a year or two, so that MLB can move on more seriously to expansion talks. It’s not necessarily that I *WANT* expansion and re-alignment – I’m open to it – but it’s been a topic for so long that I’m just ready to see what might actually happen. I’m tired of years of punting. Let’s see what the plan is.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.