Frugal Owner Forced to Compensate A’s for Departure from Oakland

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.

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.