Why A's could follow Raiders to Las Vegas, in a minor sense

The As and Raiders have shared a home in Oakland for nearly 40 years, but there are now reasons to believe the two could be neighbors in Las Vegas. Sort of.

While the As remain rooted in Oakland as they continue searching for a new major league stadium, they could find a nice new home for their Triple-A team in Sin City. As the Las Vegas Journal-Review pointed out, there are a lot of dots connecting the As top minor league affiliate to Vegas.

First off, theres the allure of what promises to be the most impressive minor league ballpark in the country. The $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark project in Summerlin, Nev. includes suites, party zones and decks, and a pool.

Were going to have the finest facility in all of Minor League Baseball, Las Vegas 51s president Don Logan told the Review-Journal. And its going to be the No. 1 player development facility because weve taken great pains to make it that, so now we went from an afterthought to a facility anybody should want to be here.

Advertisement

The timing seems perfect. The As Player Development Contract with Nashville expires at the end of this season and the Las Vegas 51s current tenants, the New York Mets, are moving their Triple-A team to Syracuse next year.

There will be a few teams interested in making Las Vegas their Triple-A home, but there seem to be some advantages in play for the As. The 51s are said to be looking for a team out west to move into their new, 10,000-seat stadium, according to the Review-Journal, which listed the As, Diamondbacks and Dodgers in that order as the most likely Vegas fits.

For what its worth, the As also have a little history in Vegas. They opened their 1996 season at Vegas Cashman Field in 1996 while Mt. Davis was being added to the Coliseum. Plus, the franchise briefly made Vegas their Triple-A home in the early 1960s under then-new Kansas City As owner Charlie Finley.

Major league teams can negotiate new PDCs with affiliates during a weeklong negotiating window that begins in late September. Until then, they are not allowed to publicly discuss any possible minor league franchise movements.

After getting booted by Sacramento after a 15-year parternership in favor of the Giants after the 2014 season, the As affiliated with Nashville mainly because of its new $91 million ballpark and surrounding facilities. In reality, the As moved their Triple-A team so far away because they really had no closer options Fresno was available but not appealing to the As.

Although the Nashville experience, by all accounts, has been a good one for the As, having their top minor league team nearly 2,300 miles and a time zone away isnt ideal.

Perhaps the only way the As remain in Nashville is if Vegas and the Dodgers strike a deal. The Dodgers, who had an eight-year run in Vegas from 2001-08, currently are part-owners of their Triple-A Oklahoma City team. Theyd need to sell their stake in that franchise in order to secure a move to Vegas by the end of September.

Theres also another minor league path to Nevada the As could find themselves on next season. They could conceivably move to Reno, should the Diamondbacks end their 10-year affiliation there and land in Vegas.

In any event, the odds may be in favor of the As having some roots in Nevada next season.