Even if Sacramento's elite players do spend, who are the players taking their money?

OakSacVegas A continues to promise to build toward a “top-tier payroll” over the next several years, which raises some obvious questions:

Should anyone trust owner John Fisher to spend? (Of course not, but more on that soon.)

Will free agents join the A-list for their temporary stay in Sacramento, which will run from 2025 through at least 2027? (Sure! But only if they lack better options.)

In January, team president Dave Kaval said, “We're budgeting numbers that we think are on the higher side of the league” once they arrive in Las Vegas. On Monday, he reiterated Group A's spending intent. “We plan to increase our salaries before we move to Las Vegas, and once we are in our new stadium, we plan to receive first-class salaries,” Kaval said in a statement. The athlete.

A person familiar with the A's plans said in January that the team intends to carry a payroll in the range of $130 million to $150 during the ramp-up period before moving to Las Vegas, then $170 million-plus once they move to the new fixed cap. stadium. Kaval declined to confirm these numbers at the time.

To be sure, any serious analysis of how Fisher intends to double the team's current $61 million payroll is likely to waste a lot of time. However, some players say Sacramento's mini-Triple-A Palace would likely be better than the huge, dilapidated Oakland Coliseum. So, just for fun, let's start filling out your OakSacVegas roster!

Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger, who could opt out of his contract after this season, was one of several players who declared their limited knowledge of the A's status. When asked if he would consider joining Fisher's bums, Bellinger laughed and offered a qualified response based on the lighting in Sutter's Health Park in Sacramento, which Kaval said could be upgraded.

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“If the lights are good,” Bellinger said. “Give me good lights.”

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Justin Turner, a 16-year veteran who is also a potential free agent, views the Sacramento experience as a potential upgrade over the one in Oakland. But he also doesn't quite hear the siren call.

“They might play in front of more people. It might feel like a better baseball atmosphere,” Turner said. “Will he be in the top 10? of course not. But, I mean, who's to say it wouldn't be better?

Turner has a point. Capacity at Sutter Health Park is 14,014 seats including fixed seating, lawn seating and standing room. Average home attendance the past three seasons has been 8,660, 9,849 and 10,276. This season, through seven games, it's 6,438. When the team was more competitive, the numbers were higher.

“The club couldn't be worse. The visiting club couldn't be worse. The attendance couldn't be worse,” Turner said. “And even if the attendance is small, in a smaller venue, it won't look as terrible as it does at the Coliseum, which is huge.”


Announced attendance was 4,118 for the Guardian-Athletics game on Sunday, March 31. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

However, the clubhouses at Sutter Health Park are located in the outfield, not under the stands, with easy access to dugouts, as is the case at every major league park. Perhaps a tour of the facility is in order, thanks to A's first baseman, Ryan Noda. Noda, who played games in Sacramento as a junior, offered a list of potential problems for the team San Jose Mercury News.

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“Concerns? The outfield, the locker rooms, the dugouts, the roof — making sure all the safety protocols and everything are up to par. This area needs a lot of work, a lot of money invested in it for it to be a big-league place.”

Even Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins, a Sacramento native, has his doubts. Hoskins loves his hometown and believes residents will unite behind any team that plays in the city, even if only temporarily. But if he opts out at the end of the season, don't expect him to call his agent Scott Boras and ask him to wear the green and gold.

“I would definitely consider it because the idea of ​​playing at home has always been enticing, but the lack of big-league facilities and the product that that organization puts out there is not something I want to be,” Hoskins said. part of.”

But wait, Reese, escalation is imminent! Or so A says.

In fact, Fisher's history tells us that he's unlikely to engage in leveraged spending and invest anything more into the team than he gets, if that's the case. Until the A's get to Vegas – if they get to Vegas, if they tie in Vegas, if, if, if – a big salary increase seems somewhat out of reach.

It's not as if their revenue in Sacramento is going to explode.

As part of the move, the A's reviewed their local television deal with NBC Sports California. The athlete Ivan Drilic previously reported that the team is expected to receive a significant portion of the domestic rights fee, which amounts to about $70 million annually.

However, the number will be less.

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Game day revenue could be more, but not significantly so given Sutter Health Park's small capacity. And perhaps not much at all once the novelty wears off. The good folks of Sacramento, accustomed to paying Major League ticket prices, may not be eager to pay Major League prices in exchange for a substandard short-term product.

Fisher will receive his usual share of Central Baseball revenue — and Sportico estimated the total number of national media deals, sponsorships and merchandise will be More than $100 million. He will also receive an increased amount of revenue sharing, worth about $60 million, as the team completes the four-year phase and returns to a 100 percent share. But even if Fisher decides to spend some of that extra money on his roster, how can his payroll jump to say a range of $130 million to $150 million in Sacramento, then $170 million once he gets to Vegas?

By overpaying free agents? Accept bad contracts? Going nuts with extensions? None of these options would make much sense for a franchise that once prided itself on its efficiency. Furthermore, the idea of ​​the A's emerging as a serious player for any top free agent — from Juan Soto to Alex Bregman, Corbin Burns to Max Fried — is absolutely ridiculous. Even less free agents will have 29 other teams to choose from.

The second part of Moneyball, if anyone cares to write it, should be a surprising one.

I can't see A spending. I can't see the players taking their money. For the 1,036th time, I can't see how this is going to go.

The athlete Andy McCullough contributed to this story.

(Sutter's Health Garden photo in Sacramento on April 4: Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press)

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