OAKLAND -- While the A's continue to wait on approval of a new ballpark in San Jose, they're moving forward with a potential plan to relocate the club's Spring Training home.
On Monday, they entered exclusive negotiations with the city of Mesa, Ariz., that could result in a move from Phoenix, where they've been stationed since 1982.
The A's plan to discuss moving their Spring Training operations to HoHoKam Park, where the Cubs will continue playing through 2012 before moving into the Cactus League's fourth new ballpark since 2009. The club's year-round Minor League operations would transfer from Phoenix's Papago Sports Complex to Mesa's Fitch Park.
During this exclusive period, which lasts through May 15, 2012, unless extended by mutual agreement and the approval of the Mesa City Council, the A's and Mesa will negotiate without any other third party contract.
The A's current agreement with the city of Phoenix expires after the 2014 season. Before taking up residence at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, they were previously tenants of Mesa (1969-1978) and Scottsdale (1979-1981) following their move from Florida.
Despite public announcements in April that a deal between the A's and Phoenix to extend their contract agreement was imminent, no such agreement was made. Phoenix Muni, which opened in 1964 and is the Cactus League's oldest ballpark, underwent an $8 million remodel in 2004 but is already due nearly $4 million in renovations -- money that isn't expected unless a long-term agreement has been reached with a team.
A's officials have talked about the need to improve the facility, which holds just 8,775 fans -- the second-smallest in the Cactus League -- compared to HoHoKam Park's capacity of 12,500. But they have stated they will not comment on the matter until an agreement has been reached or negotiations with Mesa have ended.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.