For those of you who have lost track of the Oakland A’s stadium saga, know that you haven’t missed a ton. Owner Lew Wolff still wants to go to San Jose — he calls it “the only option” in a recent San Jose sales pitch masquerading as a profile on the A’s situation — and he has the backing of Cisco Systems an San Jose public officials on the potential ballpark. All of that is gummed up by the fact that Major League Baseball still has its specially-appointed commission calculating the payoff to the San Francisco Giants — er, I mean “studying the A’s stadium situation.” Nothing can happen until their report comes in, presumably sometime in early 2010.
Into that mix comes word today that the City of Oakland has identified four potential sites for a new A’s ballpark within the city. Apparently Wolff has already dismissed the sites as unworkable, probably because he has already dismissed everything in Oakland as unworkable.
I’m not the world’s biggest A’s ballpark expert — this guys is — but I can’t help but think that Oakland knows that none of those sites will ever happen. I think they believe what I believe: the whole
MLB commission thing is rigged to pave the way for the San Jose move, and against that backdrop, they’re throwing out these proposals in order to make the commission work a bit harder before simply putting its rubber stamp on the inevitable.
If so, good for Oakland for not simply laying down on this. Lew Wolff and the powers that be may one day take baseball from Oakland, but they won’t be able to say that they didn’t have a choice.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.
Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!
Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.