Oakland Coliseum

The City of Oakland decides to flush $750,000 down the toilet

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Earlier this month we passed along word that the City of Oakland was developing a ballpark plan for the A’s. It was facing a dilemma, however because of Major League Baseball’s continued dithering on the whole can-the-A’s-play-in-San Jose issue.  Should the city spend the money for an environmental impact assessment when it’s unclear whether the team has any intention whatsoever to stay in town? As of Tuesday, the city council’s answer is yes:

The Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to spend as much as $750,000 on an environmental study for a new ballpark, even though the owner of the A’s is trying to move the team to San Jose … Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, the plan’s most vocal opponent, said it is foolhardy to spend money for a study when there is no commitment from A’s owner Lew Wolff or Major League Baseball to keep the team in Oakland. He was joined by Councilwoman Nancy Nadel in saying that the city should not fund the report.

“Let’s also be realistic about Major League Baseball’s tactics and how they play,” De La Fuente said. “I think they’re trying to play off one seat against the other in order to get the best deal they can (between Oakland and San Jose).”

People in Oakland should listen to Ignacio De La Fuente. The only way the A’s will consider staying in Oakland at this point is if the Giants simply insist that they can’t be bought and make it clear that their threats of litigation in the event the A’s try to move to San Jose are serious.

Before that?  This environmental study will simply be used by the A’s as leverage to extract a little something extra out of San Jose. Or, best case scenario, will be a simple waste of taxpayer dollars.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.