Athletics continue ballpark plans in Oakland and Las Vegas

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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Athletics are proceeding with “parallel paths” planning new ballparks in Oakland and Las Vegas, determined to find the best fit and relocate if the club can’t secure what it wants along the downtown waterfront Howard Terminal site.

Team president Dave Kaval is planning another trip to Las Vegas soon – traveling there every couple of weeks, he said – to evaluate the options with that potential spot. He spoke on the field Friday ahead of the A’s hosting the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series at the Coliseum, a site he still insists is not right for baseball going forward.

“I think we’ve been really clear, I think the league’s been really clear that this site does not fit the 21st century vision for baseball in North America,” Kaval said. “You need a downtown urban location to be successful, especially in a two-team market where you have the Giants in a similar stadium on the waterfront, and we’re going to do everything we can to have a stadium that can be at the level or eclipse what they have at Oracle Park in San Francisco. And we have that vision down at Howard Terminal.”

On July 20, the Oakland City Council approved preliminary terms for a $12 billion waterfront ballpark project. The A’s weren’t satisfied with that proposal, however.

“We still remain apart on the economic terms,” Kaval said, focusing currently on the environmental review process and keeping that progress going.

In May, Major League Baseball instructed Oakland’s brass to explore relocation options if no ballpark agreement could be reached.

“We remain disappointed that they didn’t vote on our plan, so that has not changed,” Kaval said. “By the same token, we’re still hopeful to make progress on negotiations with them. But time will tell how that plays out. We’re still getting all the other processes working and hopefully finalized. We’re doing everything we can to make that happen in an acceptable timeline for the league.”

The earliest possible scenario Kaval envisions a vote by the city is “later this year.”

The A’s are the last professional franchise remaining in Oakland after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors relocated to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas.

The team’s project plan calls for a $1 billion privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center.

The A’s lease at the aging Coliseum runs through 2024. MLB has said rebuilding at the current location is not a viable option.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.