The Athletics have been trying to move to San Jose for a long time now, but with the Giants’ territorial rights continuing to stand in the way, they are ready to make some temporary concessions. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s owner Lew Wolff is seeking a new five-year lease to keep the team at the Coliseum.
“I stress that the A’s organization certainly prefers to remain in Oakland for the next five years rather than being forced into looking elsewhere for a temporary home venue,” Wolff wrote in a Friday letter to the Coliseum’s Join Powers Authority, among others, which was obtained by The Chronicle.
“If possible, we should retain the 130 full-time jobs and the almost 800 union jobs that encompass a full baseball season, the fun of the A’s, and Major League Baseball in Oakland for five more years.”
The A’s current lease at the Coliseum expires after next season, so a new five-year lease would keep the club in Oakland until 2018. This doesn’t mean Wolff has given up on the idea of eventually moving to San Jose, as he told the Chronicle that the club would likely have a lot of work to do on a potential move even if it was approved right now. While it sounds like a negotiating tactic more than anything else, Wolff says he has “options” for a temporary venue if a new lease can’t be worked out at the Coliseum.
The Athletics have played at the Coliseum since moving from Kansas City in 1968.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.