Lew Wolff out as the A’s managing partner

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Lew Wolff is stepping down as the managing partner of the Oakland Athletics. The club’s majority owner, John Fisher, is taking over the lead role. Wolff is selling most of his shares in the club. He only owned about 10% of the club, though, with Fisher owning 80 percent and being content to be a silent partner.

Meanwhile, team president Michael Crowley will move into an advisory role to the ownership group. The new A’s team president will be Dave Kaval of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Wolff has been the control person of the organization for 11 years. Crowley has been the team president for 19 years. Under their leadership the A’s have had some success on the field — three American League West titles and four playoff appearances — but they’ve finished last for the past two years and,  as the years go on, have become known more for their budget-conscious management and seemingly never ending quest to get a new ballpark for the club than for baseball excellence. A fan base once understanding of the A’s limitations has become increasingly annoyed as other traditionally lower-revenue clubs like the Royals and Indians have made World Series appearances while the A’s sell off players each year.

Slusser and the Chronicle suggest that the impetus for this move is that, under the forthcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Athletics may no longer be recipients of as much revenue sharing money as they’ve received in the past, making the ownership of the low-revenue A’s a far less pleasant experience than it was prior. In recent months, Fisher, though a silent presence, has been reported to be more active in looking for a new home for the A’s in Oakland.




Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.