MLB Rumors

Report: Oakland MLB expansion team part of A's Coliseum lease talks 

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While the Athletics remain committed to their Las Vegas relocation, there still is optimism that Oakland can harbor an MLB franchise moving forward.

The Oakland Mayor's office and the league have engaged in discussions about the city potentially being guaranteed an expansion franchise in exchange for granting the A's a lease extension at the Coliseum, the San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler reported Friday in an exclusive.

Ostler's report also states the city of Oakland is invested in persuading A's owner, John Fisher, to sell his 50-percent stake in the Coliseum site due to a group possessing ambitious plans for a major development on the plot of land.

"Our office intends to reach out [to the Commissioner's Office] within the next few days," Leigh Hanson, chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, told Ostler on Friday. "Our office has been in dialogue with the Commissioner's Office recently, and in part I think that [the conversations] helped to support this recent meeting with the A's. I anticipate those conversations will continue."

The A's Coliseum lease runs through the 2024 MLB season, but the franchise currently is without a home from 2025-2027 while they await construction of their new ballpark in Las Vegas, which is projected to open in 2028.

However, Thao's stance remains that the city only will grant the A's a lease extension if Oakland were to receive something in return -- perhaps in the form of an MLB expansion franchise.

"If a three-year extension was to be offered, and granted, then our expectation is that the city of Oakland would retain an MLB team," Hanson told Ostler. "I recognize that [A's president] Dave Kaval and John Fisher are not in a position to negotiate that point, so I think our further conversation will have to include the commissioner."

While MLB commissioner Rob Manfred pointed to the San Francisco Giants as a viable option to serve the needs of Bay Area fans seeing their beloved A's leave town, Mayor Thao's office remains steadfast in its belief that Oakland possesses the infrastructure to house a major-league franchise moving forward.

"I think we have seen that MLB is capable of making and bending its own rules over the course of the last few years," Hanson told Ostler. "I think if there's interest and support behind the A's maintaining a lease extension in Oakland, then the commissioner would be smart to consider that opportunity."

In the whirlwind of ever-changing news surrounding the A's polarizing relocation, a glimmer of hope remains that the team could play out their next few seasons in the stadium they've called home since 1968, and potentially a new franchise taking their place after the Las Vegas relocation is completed.

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