Las Vegas Doesn't Need A Baseball Team Whose Owner's Only Concern Is the Bottom Line
The fans of the Oakland Athletics aren’t the only ones disenchanted with the team’s ownership. The New York Post recently reported owners of rival teams in Major League Baseball aren’t happy the A’s are back to collecting revenue-sharing checks after having another fire sale in the offseason where the team got rid of notable players to cut costs. “The idea of revenue sharing is not to make money, it’s to field a competitive team,” an owner told the Post outside of league meetings in New York. “That money is supposed to go toward player salaries. (The A’s) took the money and put it in their pocket.”
The A’s were re-awarded revenue sharing over the offseason when the players association and Major League Baseball agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. The team made some $34 million in revenue sharing back in 2016 before it was gradually phased out by 2020, spreading money from the high-revenue teams to the low. The new revenue-sharing plan is contingent on the A’s finalizing a long-awaited new stadium. The team is expected to get $9 million in revenue sharing this year and $20 million in 2023. Their $35 million payroll is the lowest in the majors, ahead of only the Orioles, way down from the $86 million they spent on players in 2016 at the height of the old revenue sharing model. Nothing A’s owner John Fisher is doing these days seems to be working for anyone. Except, well, John Fisher. And that’s been the team’s biggest problem — even more so than the club’s never-ending bid for a ballpark.
Fisher saw what the Raiders moving to Las Vegas meant to the Raiders team value and has focused on moving to Las Vegas since being allowed to seek a new location. The Raiders were able to secure a stadium on the backs of the Nevada Tax Payers through Hotel Taxes. Moving to Las Vegas, the Raiders, a franchise that had nowhere to go increased in value by $1.5Billion. Fisher is hoping to duplicate what Mark Davis was able to do. So far the City of Las Vegas has expressed no appetite for a similar deal.
Fisher’s been trying to get a new stadium since buying the team for $180 million in 2005. Fisher ordered his overachieving front office to deal away star first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman, as well as starting pitchers Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt. Those moves go against the point of revenue sharing altogether. Other MLB owners are upset the money they share with the A’s isn’t doing anything to help the on-field product. The A’s haven’t given a star player a contract since Eric Chavez signed a six-year, $66 million deal in 2004. Yet, thanks to star executive Billy Beane and GM Robert Forst, the A’s have made the playoffs 11 times since 2000. Whatever you think about Mark Davis and the Stadium deal he was able to work. Davis brought a team to Las Vegas with a strong following. Davis has been an asset to the City of Las Vegas with civic involvement as well as trying to create a championship team. These are qualities Fisher seems to lack. Major League Baseball is going to have a franchise in Las Vegas, do we want it to be the Oakland A’s?