Kaval Out?

November 18, 2016

Yesterday the Quakes and A’s announced Dave Kaval as the Oakland A’s new President. Kaval is expected to split time between Oakland and San Jose, with Jared Shawlee being promoted to Quakes COO. If you read between the lines, Kaval’s days in San Jose are numbered.

For one, being the club president of an organization requires time. Compound that with the fact both baseball and soccer play the same summer schedule. Once the season starts, Kaval will have to choose one job over the other, and the greener (literally) pastures of Oakland and Major League Baseball seem like the better choice.

Second, although I have no first-hand knowledge, I’m sure the pay is much better as the president of a Major League Baseball club than Major League Soccer club. It’s probably a no-brainer that he will take the higher paying job full-time if/when the time comes.

Third, the future looks bleak in San Jose. The Quakes are in the middle of the ocean without a rudder, and the storm of dissatisfied fans is on the horizon: four seasons of no playoffs, over two months without a GM, and no real hope in terms of young players that can carry the team forward. To make matters worse, the Quakes are already losing season ticket holders while holding the $150 million bill for Avaya. The Quakes could experience serious financial distress in the coming years, and the A’s are Kaval’s lifeboat out of San Jose before this financial fallout.

Fourth, Kaval was hired for one purpose: get the A’s a new stadium. He succeeded in that endeavor in San Jose, and appears eager to tackle the task in Oakland. But that process takes time, years. Expect him to go where his expertise lies: getting the stadium built. Once that process is completed, he will probably have solidified himself as the A’s President in their new home.

Overall, I think it’s a good move for Kaval, and possibly for the Quakes. As club president, he’s been hit and miss. He got us the stadium, but stuck with Doyle as GM way too long. He’s good at attracting fans with promotions and giveaways like the LOBINA, but not good at retaining them as many have felt dissatisfied with ticket prices and paying money to park in a dirt lot which takes way too long to enter or leave. Oakland needs a stadium and fans, and Kaval has shown he can deliver. Meanwhile, San Jose can start fresh with a new President and GM and help end the stagnation of the sub-par soccer San Jose has seen since the Quakes 2008 resurrection.

Good luck, Dave!

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