Oakland Athletics 2024 Season Preview: The Sense of an Ending 

The 2023 season 

50-112 – 5th in the American League West 

By any measure, last season did not go well – the team’s batting average was the lowest and the team scored the fewest runs, and so, also had the fewest RBIs. In short, we had the worst offence in Major League Baseball in 2023. It was a similar story on defence too – our pitchers hit the most batsmen, allowed the most walks and were second-worst only to the Rockies in Earned Run Average (ERA), Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP), runs allowed and earned runs. No wonder we had the worst record in all of MLB then. 

Notable comings and goings 

In – Abraham Toro (Milwaukee Brewers), Michael Kelly (Cleveland Guardians), Osvaldo Bido (Pittsburgh Pirates), Trevor Gott (New York Mets), Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Scott Alexander and J.D. Davis (all San Francisco Giants) 

Out – Trevor May (retired), Tony Kemp (Baltimore Orioles), Kevin Smith (New York Yankees), Jonah Cox (San Francisco Giants), Jonah Bride (Miami Marlins) 

Any areas of weakness that still need addressing 

How long have you got? 

A’s president Dave Kaval has previously said that the organisation will be putting a competitive team on the field in Las Vegas. It is clear that competitiveness is not at or near the top of the agenda currently though, as, coming off a season where the team had the worst record in all of MLB, it can’t be said that the A’s have signed any players this off-season who you’d expect to move the needle. 

Contrast that with the Kansas City Royals, whose response to a bad season has been to sign Bobby Witt Jr to a long-term contract, making it clear to everyone that they know the kid is talented, see him as the future of the team and are going to build around him. The Athletics, meanwhile, continues to keep handing out one-year deals to its best players. 

Pitchers, for example, are known to be able to play into their forties, and are in a uniquely-powerful position to influence whether their team wins or loses. To this point, Paul Blackburn is clearly a very good pitcher. Certainly not the best of the best, but a very good pitcher relative to his peers, making him one of the best and most valuable players the A’s have. He is still only 30 years old too. However, this off-season, the A’s have only signed him to a one-year deal for the 2024 season. It’s baffling, and speaks to the continued lack of investment the front office is making in the team on the field. 

If they don’t plan on starting to put together a competitive team now ready for the move to Las Vegas so people in Sin City will actually want to see them play, when exactly do they plan on starting? 

One to watch 

As always, the A’s have a roster full of young players with lots of potential, and I certainly hope that Esteury Ruiz, Ryan Noda and Zack Gelof will all make a step up in Year 2.

This segment belongs to nobody on the field though. Rather, the one to watch is in the broadcast booth, where Jenny Cavnar will be making her debut for the A’s, having become the first woman to be named as the primary announcer for a team in MLB history

All the best to her. 

How the 2024 season will unfold 

If the ‘Area of weakness’ segment didn’t make it clear, I’m not expecting great things from the A’s in 2024.

This is not because of the players on the field though, who are predominantly young players full of potential that are trying to make a name for themselves, and all of whom I support wholeheartedly. 

The fact that it also isn’t guaranteed where the A’s will be playing next season is a cloud that hangs over the organisation and distracts from what should be the primary focus; those players in the green and gold out on the field. 

In theory, the team could stay at the O.co until the end of the 2027 season before then moving to its new home in Las Vegas for the start of the 2028 season. Alternatively, they could leave at the end of this season once the current lease on the Oakland Coliseum runs out. We just don’t know. 

And that goes to the very heart of why it has been so frustrating to be an A’s fan the past couple of seasons. Never mind the product on the field, the failure of the organisation to give the fans a fully-clear answer on what the path forward looks like for the organisation is infuriating and demonstrates a lack of respect for the fans from John Fisher and his front office. 

It’s all well and good to confirm that the team will be moving to Las Vegas, but to not be able to confirm when that move will take place is offensive, not just to the fans, but also to all of those who rely on the presence of a Major League Baseball team in Oakland for their livelihood, whether that is employees of the Coliseum or the local businesses who generate a significant amount of their income during the season from those coming into The Town for games. This is even more important given those employees and business owners have already been hit by the loss of the NFL’s Raiders and NBA’s Golden State Warriors in recent years too, and we are also not long removed from the pandemic, that had a big impact on their livelihoods as well. 

Make no mistake; this season, and most likely, at least the next two or three seasons after this, are going to be a testing time to be an A’s fan. Speaking to other A’s fans, one thing I am confident about is that we are in it for the love of the team and the players at this point, in spite of John Fisher and his front office, and it’s looking more and more likely that a lot of A’s fans will switch allegiances to Oakland’s new baseball team – the Oakland Ballers – when the A’s do finally pack up and move to Las Vegas.

Brett Walker is the Oakland Athletics team contributor for Bat Flips & Nerds, and can be found on Twitter @BrettChatsSport.

Featured image – AP Photo/Matt York

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