Silicon Valley execs want the A's in San Jose

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The Silicon Valley Leadership group has sent a letter to Bud Selig in support of the Athletics moving to San Jose.  You can read a press release about it and — if you click an extra link — a copy of the letter here.  It’s signed by the CEOs of Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay, Adobe and seventy others. The upshot: they think a ballpark in downtown San Jose would be swell and that it would “create jobs” and “strengthen the economy.”

Maybe most interestingly, they argue that a team in San Jose would in no way diminish support for the Giants. It’s support from Silicon Valley companies, you’ll recall, that the Giants are most worried about losing if the A’s move south.  Wonder if the CEOs are willing to make actual commitments to the Giants in exchange for them dropping their opposition to the team moving . . .

Intrigue aside, I think the A’s need to move to San Jose for their own sake, but I’m somewhat surprised to see a letter like this from tech business leaders. Sure, we all love baseball, but the whole “a ballpark will create jobs and stimulate the economy” argument has more or less been debunked by every smart person who has
studied the issue.  The people who benefit from ballparks are basically
the owners of baseball teams and people who own parking lots.  The real benefit the signatories to this letter would get would be quality of life and employee/client entertainment opportunities. Which they do note in the letter, I’ll grant, even if they do make the “public good argument” a bit more strongly.

Of course, the move wouldn’t hurt too terribly if this was primarily a private project, which the A’s and San Jose leaders claim it will be.  I just find it weird that putatively forward-thinking tech companies would get into this kind of boosterism. Maybe I’m just idealizing Silicon Valley in this regard, however, and they’re no different than the insurance companies and car dealers and stuff that get on these kinds of bandwagons back east.  

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”