The Oakland Athletics are about to pay more than their entire 2022 payroll just to leave Oakland.
Alameda County sent a registered letter to Coliseum Way Partners LLC demanding that the A’s pay the county by May 14 of next year, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2019, the Athletics bought out the county’s 50 percent stake in the Oakland Coliseum’s site for $85 million. Thus far, they have paid $40 million and were supposed to pay the rest in three equal payments of $15 million across 2024, 2025, and 2026.
However, the county informed the A’s that they triggered a key clause in the contract by announcing their move to Las Vegas. The deal reportedly states that the Athletics are required to pay off the entire remaining balance within 180 days of announcing the team would leave Oakland. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors wrote a letter saying that the contract clause was triggered on Nov. 16, the same day all 30 MLB teams unanimously approved the Vegas relocation.
“On the same date,” reads the letter, per the Chronicle, “statements were made by representatives of the Athletics, including majority owner John Fisher and President Dave Kaval, announcing the Athletics relocation out of Oakland.”
Enabled by the popularity of Moneyball, the Athletics are notoriously one of the cheapest teams in all of baseball. Oakland is consistently in the bottom half of the league’s payroll rankings. The Athletics ranked dead last in payroll in 2022 and 2018.
The Athletics’ frugal habits also applied to their stadium-building — something that Oakland actually accommodated. The A’s wanted Alameda County to facilitate a healthy portion of their billion-dollar stadium, project. According to Oakland’s government website, Alameda County secured more than $425 million in funding and increased the bonding capacity by up to 70 percent in order to facilitate the Athletic’s ambitious stadium build. Despite this, the team rejected all offers from the city of Oakland between 2021 and 2023.