A's announce 20-year agreement with city of Mesa
Deal will bring Oakland back to area for Spring Training starting in 2015
PHOENIX -- While the A's continue to await word on their proposed move to San Jose, they finalized a different kind of lease on Tuesday, reaching a 20-year agreement to conduct Spring Training in the city of Mesa beginning in 2015.
The deal also includes a pair of five-year team options that could extend Oakland's stay in Arizona's East Valley City to 30 years.
That means Oakland will vacate the outdated Phoenix Municipal Stadium after the conclusion of Spring Training next year, which will mark its 32nd consecutive year there, in favor of a new home at a renovated HoHoKam Stadium. That's where they played their games in 1977 and '78, after an eight-year stay at Mesa's Rendezvous Park.
The Cubs reside at HoHoKam, but will be moving into a new facility in Mesa in 2014, leaving the city a year to complete renovations expecting to total $20 million. Some of those funds will be used to expand and remodel Fitch Park, where the A's will conduct workouts on its four practice fields.
It was Monday night when Mesa City Council approved the agreement, which calls for the city to pay $17.5 million and the A's to provide $2.5 million.
"Certainly there's money going into it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Nothing's really going into [Phoenix Muni], and it's dated, so our organization is looking to get into a place that's more modern. Our facilities are lacking a little bit, and therefore I certainly understand the move."
As part of the renovation plans, HoHoKam will feature completely renovated seating, a new scoreboard, a remodeled home team clubhouse, remodeled and expanded weight rooms, two new rehabilitation pools, a field replacement and a remodeled and expanded team store.
Over at Fitch Park, meanwhile, both the training building and team clubhouse will be expanded and remodeled, while all practice fields will receive an upgrade.
"We are extremely excited about our future spring home and want to thank the city of Mesa for all their hard work and cooperation in making this agreement possible," said A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff. "With the improvements planned over the next two years, we believe HoHoKam Stadium and surrounding facilities will rival any in Major League Baseball. Our players and coaches, as well as our great fans, will be the beneficiaries."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.