When the Giants handed Buster Posey a $167 million contract on Friday, the same day the A's were playing at AT&T Park, it made for a stark contrast.
Oakland hasn't signed a star home-grown player to a deal well beyond arbitration years since Eric Chavez got a six-year, $66 million deal in 2004. Since then, the team has focused on trying to get a new stadium in San Jose in order to increase revenue and to allow the club to hang on to some of its good young players.
The team opposing that proposed A's move to San Jose is ... the Giants, who hold territorial rights to the area.
"It's more than mildly ironic that the Giants granted a single player a contract that exceeds the A's entire payroll by a factor of three," San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo said. "It makes a mockery of the idea that Major League Baseball should protect the Giants from financial competition from a substantially less wealthy ballclub and keep the A's from going to San Jose."
Liccardo, who is exploring legal action on behalf of San Jose, hopes that the issue is resolved in the A's favor in coming months. "If not, you'll be hearing more from me," he said.
A's players know that they're unlikely to stay with the team beyond their arbitration years, though player representative Jerry Blevins argued that the team could afford a mega-contract.
"We turn a major profit every year, a good profit," Blevins said. "If they wanted to tie a guy down like that, they could, but that's not their philosophy."
Some of that is because Chavez was injured his final few seasons, and the A's can't absorb such an expensive loss, given their resources. In addition, the A's believe they don't have the funds to surround one high-paid star with enough good pieces. And some of their profit comes from revenue sharing, which nets them $30 million or so yearly; the A's argue that other owners would benefit from them moving to an area where they could contribute to revenue sharing, instead of collecting from it.