PHOENIX -- There appears to be some traction regarding the A's ongoing stadium situation, with the Los Angeles Times reporting on Thursday that Major League Baseball has provided the club with an outline for a potential move to San Jose.
Nothing is imminent, according to the report, and even the sheer existence of these guidelines doesn't guarantee a move will come. But if the A's can follow the instructions set forth by MLB, Commissioner Bud Selig would likely be inclined to let club owners decide whether to approve such a move.
The Giants, who hold territorial rights to San Jose as part of their hold over Santa Clara County, have opposed the A's proposed move there, and their ability to challenge it is not affected by discussions between the A's and MLB.
The A's would need 75 percent of the clubs to approve the move in order to rescind the territorial rights held by the Giants, who could put a halt to it all by lining up seven clubs to vote with them. They could also choose to sue to deter the project from advancing.
Either way, it is unlikely the A's, who had no comment on Thursday's report, could move to San Jose before 2018.
When reached by the Times, MLB offered a one-sentence statement referring to the work of a three-man committee Selig appointed nearly four years ago to study the situation after the A's first unveiled plans to move to San Jose.
"The committee continues to work hard on this very complex, complicated situation," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said in a statement to the Times.
Contacted by MLB.com on Thursday, Courtney declined to elaborate "beyond the comment I gave to them."
It is not known what obligations have been asked the A's to fulfill MLB's request and keep talks moving forward. However, the Times states that "compensation to the Giants -- how much they would have to be paid for the loss of their territorial rights -- is not believed to be among the current list of matters for the A's to resolve."
Under Rule 1 of the Major League Rules, the A's would owe the Giants whatever "sum of money as the Commissioner deems appropriate."
In the meantime, A's owner Lew Wolff has requested his team remain at the O.co Coliseum through 2017, pledging to Coliseum officials that the A's would not leave before then regardless of how the San Jose situation shakes out.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.