These can't be the rosiest of times for A's co-owner Lew Wolff.

His battle to find a new home for his baseball team continues, with no obvious end in sight.

Discontent grows among the fan base, with the perception being the organization can't wait to bolt Oakland for greener pastures.

And the A's are trying to snap a string of three straight losing seasons in an American League West division that's getting stronger across the board.

But Wolff, 73, is optimistic the A's are pointed in the right direction. That was abundantly clear during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon with the Bay Area News Group.

"We could still use a hitter or two, but we could field the team we have, be a young team, and be very competitive next year," said Wolff, the A's managing partner.

Wolff is also certain that general manager Billy Beane "will make some additions as we move through the winter."

The A's have designs on moving to San Jose — partly because the Oakland Coliseum is seen as a relic and partly because of sagging home attendance that ranked last in the major leagues in 2009.

The poor crowds seemingly could be attributed, at least in part, to the belief that the A's can't — or won't — hold on to their big-name players.


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That perception was reinforced after the 2007 season, when the A's traded pitcher Dan Haren and outfielder Nick Swisher, then dealt pitchers Joe Blanton and Rich Harden during the 2008 campaign.

Solid baseball reasons were given, and those deals netted prospects who helped transform the A's farm system into one of the majors' best. Still, the A's traded four core players who were under team control and making reasonable salaries. Wolff was asked if, in hindsight, he's considered the possible public relations backlash to the strategy.

"It isn't like, if we had a winning team, we would have had double the attendance," Wolff said. "If you trace it back for a long time, we're in a market that's difficult to tap. We're close to the Giants, who have a beautiful ballpark. I don't think the fact that we traded some guys ... When you look back at what we sent out, I think the balance sheet is in our favor thanks to Billy and his guys."

Wolff's optimism about next season stems from a promising core of young players - particularly on the pitching staff.

To retain their budding stars long term, the A's claim they'll need a new stadium that helps them draw bigger crowds and provide more revenue.

San Jose city leaders have secured the land where a proposed 32,000-seat stadium could be built. But plans are on hold until a Major League Baseball-appointed panel finishes its study of possible stadium locations throughout the Bay Area.

Wolff is aware of the scorn he's generated for recent comments about the futility of trying to build a new stadium in Oakland.

"We spent three solid years trying to (look) in Oakland. There are some people who think we didn't do anything," he said. " If you sat down with me (to examine) the details with the effort in Oakland, it takes me about an hour and 45 minutes to go through my notes."

Of course, to get that coveted revenue that a San Jose stadium could provide, it's assumed the South Bay fan base would jump on the A's bandwagon. Wolff was asked if he's worried about alienating the team's East Bay fans.

"I don't need heavy research to tell me that if we can get farther away from the Giants, that's the best option for us," he said. " In our East Bay market, especially around the city of Oakland, a lot of them may gravitate toward the Giants. I don't know. But you're talking about (a San Jose stadium) being the smallest ballpark in baseball at 32,000 seats. We're measuring our bet by not building 54,000 seats."

After the MLB panel concludes its findings, a big hurdle remains - the territorial rights to San Jose belong to the Giants. And major league owners would have to waive those rights before the A's could move there.

Wolff points to the Angels and Dodgers - who share territorial rights to common regions - and believes that no geographic distinctions are necessary.

"The Bay Area can have two football teams and survive," he said. "It should be looked at as one area."

"I don't need heavy research to tell me that if we can get farther away from the Giants, that's the best option for us."

- A's co-owner Lew Wolff