John Fisher is a Dysfunctional Owner of the Oakland A’s
The story of “Moneyball” is nothing more than a broken record to Oakland A’s fans. Spending less does not win championships, nor does it help a team stay relevant. For owner John Fisher, however, none of that matters to him. As long as Fisher can continue to pocket money from the team, the A’s will continue to be a poverty franchise.
John Fisher has owned the A’s since 2005. This is the same Fisher who owns the San Jose Earthquakes and is the heir of the company GAP. According to Forbes, he’s worth $2.4 billion. This sounds like an owner who could spend big on improving their team and winning a championship, right?
The A’s are notorious for not giving out big contracts. The biggest contract given out in franchise history was in 2004, when third baseman Eric Chavez signed a six-year, $66 million contract extension. The payroll hasn’t jumped out either, as it sits just under $30 million in 2022. The organization is consistently at the bottom of payroll among MLB, and Fisher continues to use this as an excuse to cry poor.
Despite the low payroll every year, the A’s have found ways to compete and make the playoffs. Their contention window usually lasts about three to four years before Fisher somehow slashes payroll and rebuilds. The 2018-20 teams consisted of a core of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Marcus Semien. With a strong rotation lead by Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Sean Manaea, the A’s seemed to be in position to compete.
But Oakland suffered two Wild Card losses in 2018 and 2019, an ALDS exit in 2020, and completely missed the playoffs despite a winning record in 2021. Then here came Fisher, refusing to pay up to keep the core intact and selling off the roster. Stars including Olson, Chapman, and Bassitt were shipped off for prospect packages in the spring of 2022. More recently, Montas was traded to the Bronx at the 2022 deadline.
Poor attempts of spending money
Okay, maybe John Fisher has made attempts to re-sign players. They’re pretty poor attempts, however. In the 2019 offseason, defensive wizard Matt Chapman was offered a 10-year, $150 million contract extension. While it may seem like a lot from the outside, only a $10 million average annual value (AAV), is insultingly low to one of your top core players. Chapman, denying this offer, found himself on the Blue Jays three years later.
Fisher didn’t stop there. Following the 2020 season, the A’s offered Marcus Semien an embarrassingly cheap contract. A one-year, $12.5 million deal with $10 million deferred in 10, one-year installments of $1 million each. A one-year deal, with an extra 10 years of deferred money to a cornerstone of your contention. Pathetic.
It’s one thing to not pay your major leaguers, but this bastard is so cheap he didn’t want to pay his minor leaguers either.
Due to the pandemic in 2020, no minor league games were played. 29 MLB teams committed in some way, shape or form, to pay their minor league players throughout the year. The one team that didn’t, was John Fisher’s A’s. ESPN’s Jeff Passan stated that it would’ve cost Fisher almost nothing to pay their minor leaguers through the 2020 season.
It’s worth noting that while these players weren’t getting paid by the team, they still had to abide by their “contracts,” and weren’t allowed to seek employment elsewhere. Following backlash, Fisher grew the balls to admit he was wrong, and decided to reverse his decision and pay his minor leaguers.
Fisher’s Pockets are the only thing that grow
This still doesn’t change the fact that Fisher is nothing but a money pocketing clown. Due to the A’s low payroll, MLB includes them in the revenue sharing. Rich teams sharing profits to poor teams to level the playing field.
In 2018, the MLB Player Association filed a grievance against four teams, the A’s included. They claimed the revenue sharing money was not going towards on-field spending, which it wasn’t. The only place that money was going was into Fisher’s pockets. MLB cut off the A’s from the share, up until 2022 when they decided to let the A’s back in.
The A’s are rebuilding however, which means the revenue sharing money will slide into Fisher’s pockets once more. Thanks for the losing season, John.
Moneyball has proven not to work. It gets you to the playoffs, not the World Series. Spending money gets you to the World Series, and as long as John Fisher is the owner of the A’s, the vision of a trophy will never be in sight.
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