For some time now, we’ve been hearing how the A’s personnel moves have been, for better or worse, at the mercy of the stadium. The team’s on-field direction was meant to parallel the eventual move, with a competitive core hitting its stride right as the new yard opened.
That supposed core is in Oakland now and sparkling in a small September sample. The rebuild is by no means complete, nor the exciting young players definite assets going forward. But things are exciting, and even if it’s a bit late the decision to go young was clearly the right move.
As it turns out, building a stadium is a severe undertaking. With the surveying of the land, buying or leasing it, making sure it’s up to environmental code, figuring out the neighboring areas, and making the stadium as awesome as the front office intends to make it, it’s going to take time. A lot of time. And that’s just fine.
Stadiums don’t pop up overnight, especially when they’re done the right way. The right way consists of doing the due diligence it appears Dave Kaval & Co. are happy to do, and also funding it privately as opposed to publicly. The A’s look like they won’t be burdening the local community with a massive bill, which will increase the time to open.
So the A’s won’t be in their new stadium as fast as we might have hoped when Kaval took over. That’s a good thing if it means being privately funded.
The plan before was to have the Chapmans and Barretos and Olsons of the team in the prime of their careers as the move was being made. With doors scheduled to open in 2023, those players will be 30, 27, and 29 respectively. Those are all ages at which each player could still be great, definitely toward the end of their primes, but definitely an age where they could carry a team.
It’s unlikely, though. Even more so, it’s unwise to plan that far out in a game that is so unpredictable. The league is getting younger and those young players are increasingly less inclined to take extensions. That makes the salary issue more of one, before even accounting for the matter of age and injury and will those players even be around.
Their ages just don’t line up with when the new stadium is slated to open. Still, going young was the right move. There’s not a team in contention at this point without a young star, and it’s impossible to ignore how much of the game is dominated by guys early in their career. There are still five full seasons of baseball left at the Coliseum, and the A’s have the infrastructure to form competitive teams and potentially send the Coliseum off in style: with a World Series win. Waiting around for that new stadium to open to succeed would have been a monotonous disaster.
The best way to go into the new stadium is with an energy based on tangible results, and while it’d be delightful to have an up and coming team hit their stride at the exact moment of the move, it’d be better to have a fanbase excited by postseason baseball.
The idea that the roster would perfectly match the timeline was always a bit of a pipe dream. This front office always has and likely always will makes the moves they think are best at the time, and they did so this go-around. Hopefully, the Coliseum has a few important games left in it before its close.