Not the San Francisco Giants. The City of San Francisco:
City Attorney Dennis Herrera gave Major League Baseball a little chin
music on Thursday, firing off a letter suggesting San Francisco would
sue the league if it approves moving the Oakland Athletics to San Jose . . . “I need to make sure the interests of the city and its taxpayers are
protected . . . The city and county of San Francisco has a
vital interest in making sure the Giants are successful and viable so
they can make good on their obligations to the city.”
Setting aside the entire issue of the antitrust exemption which could prevent this suit in the first place, on what possible theory would the City of San Francisco have standing to sue baseball over a franchise move that doesn’t even involve (a) the team that lives in the city; and (b) the city itself (here’s a basic definition of legal standing for you non-lawyers out there)?
Sure, San Francisco has a financial interest in the Giants doing well. But so do the ferry companies. So do the beer vendors. So do the people that print giant foam fingers that say “Giants” on them. Would Dennis Herrera admit that they all have standing to sue too? Wait. Don’t answer that. Would a court say they have standing? Doubtful.
I’ve always been dubious of the whole territorial claim the Giants have on San Jose to begin with anyway. Yes, I know they technically “own” that territory, but it doesn’t make any kind of sense for them to be so protective of it. The ballpark in Oakland is a sixteen mile drive from AT&T Park. Downtown San Jose is forty miles away. Which location is more likely to draw people away from Giants’ games? And besides, San Jose was Athletics territory for years anyway. They gave it to the Giants in order to help them out when the Giants had stadium issues. If New York and Chicago can handle coequal team territory, the Bay Area should be able to handle it too.
But good luck with your lawsuit anyway, Mr. Herrera.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.