One of MLB’s top agents is speaking out against the Athletics’ Las Vegas relocation process.
The entire saga has left Scott Boras confused, the baseball agent told the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea this week, following a league-wide ownership vote last month that unanimously approved the franchise’s move from Oakland to Sin City.
“Remember, the commissioner’s office on down, every owner approved this,” Boras told Shea in an exclusive interview. “This is what Major League Baseball is doing to one of its franchises. We’ve made one of the great major league franchises an outlier. I’m not sure why they did it this way. I don’t understand it. I think it hurts the game.”
Boras, who represents many of baseball’s top stars, is the agent of four A’s players — pitcher Paul Blackburn, second baseman Zack Gelof, catcher Shea Langeliers and outfielder JJ Bleday — as well as several top prospects who could join the A’s in the majors soon, per Shea.
But with the A’s lease to play at Oakland Coliseum set to expire after the 2024 season, those prospects don’t even know where they will be playing should they debut within the next couple of years. The A’s new ballpark in Las Vegas isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2028.
There’s uncertainty with the team in general, too, which boasted the league’s lowest payroll this season after trading its star players away in recent years. While Vegas will offer a new beginning for the franchise, it remains to be seen if A’s owner John Fisher will invest in the team differently moving forward — though he has promised to field a competitive team.
“Sports are personal,” Boras told Shea. “I think John’s taking a direction in this that is one where he’s put his personal tone on this. The reflection of that and the marketplaces — you have players not knowing who their fans are. They’re not certain where they’re going to be at any time. And it’s really not good for baseball players. It’s not in any way customary to any other franchise. My hope is he considers that in his thoughts and concurs.”
Boras also lamented to Shea that the A’s have been turned into a “nomad” team over the last few years, with no idea at first if they would stay in Oakland or hit the road for Vegas. Now, it’s limbo until that eventual relocation as A’s players ponder where their home stadium will be between 2024 and 2028.
“For the players that I have there,” Boras told Shea, “I think it’s very, very difficult to look at competitiveness, to look at a career with a franchise, to look at what commitment means day in and day out, to playing ball. All those things are so different than what we know of the other 29 teams.”
The A’s ongoing relocation process has been hard on Oakland fans and players alike. And based on Boras’ comments, those in the industry have their own qualms with the way things have played out.