San Jose, MLB should try to reach deal on criteria to move A's

San Jose, MLB should try to reach deal on criteria to move A's
San Jose mayor Chuck Reed wants Major League Baseball owners to be authorized to make a decision on whether the Oakland Athletics can move. (Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

Let's make a deal

On television, the judge bangs a gavel and rules on everything. In real life, the judge nudges you to settle before he would have to rule.


As entertaining as it might be to see Commissioner Bud Selig on the witness stand, the chance of San Jose's antitrust lawsuit getting to a jury is slim. Would San Jose settle with Major League Baseball for anything less than the Athletics moving to town?

San Jose officials have complained for years that MLB won't let its owners vote yes or no on the A's move. MLB officials have complained in turn that owners could vote yes and the new A's stadium might never materialize. As The Times reported last February, MLB has given the A's tentative guidelines for a potential move.

So here's an idea: MLB gives San Jose criteria to meet, and the two sides agree on a deadline. If San Jose meets the criteria and the deadline, and if the A's fulfill their guidelines, then MLB lets the owners vote — with no guarantee of approval.

"That would be a straightforward way of doing it," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

MLB declined to comment. However, Selig generally does not allow any vote unless he has a pretty good sense of the outcome. He prefers unanimous votes. This one would be divided and unpredictable, with the likelihood of intense lobbying. The San Francisco Giants have no interest in selling their rights to San Jose.

The league isn't yet convinced that the A's could guarantee enough revenue from a new ballpark in which the long-term average attendance is projected at 24,300. The league also worries about the possibility of deciding to award the A's to San Jose, only to see the new ballpark defeated at the ballot box.

Reed offered three years ago to hold that election, but MLB asked him to hold off.

"We could have had an election ahead of the decision," Reed said. "We would have already had an answer. The issue could have been resolved a few years ago."

Star starter?

In another miserable season for the New York Mets, this might be the highlight: Matt Harvey, their young ace, starting the All-Star game on the Mets' home field.

Harvey, 24, in his first full season in the majors, is 7-1 with a 2.00 earned-run average. He leads the National League in ERA and strikeouts.

The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, widely considered the best pitcher in the league, is 6-5 with a 2.08 ERA. He ranks third in the NL in ERA, second in strikeouts.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, the NL manager, has said he would be reluctant to pick the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig for the All-Star team based on three great weeks over a player who has had three good months. We wonder, then, whether Bochy really would pick Harvey, who has had three great months, over Kershaw, who has had three great years.

The Angels ought to hope not. Harvey starting the All-Star game would be a painful reminder that a team that spent $375 million on Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — two players who figure to miss the game — declined to spend the $2 million necessary to sign Harvey in the 2007 draft.