Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

With a whopping 112 losses in 2023 and a similar number a near certainty in ’24, it’s a bad time to be associated with the Oakland A’s.

It’s been the same song and dance for over 20 years. Moneyball the roster to death, maybe enjoy a few trips to the playoffs, reset when everyone gets too expensive. The only difference is that this time, the A’s are packing up and moving to Las Vegas soon. A move that nobody really wants, not even the locals, yet the team presses forward.

An old, decrepit, dingy stadium, and a city more than motivated to keep the team in town with a new one. Fans who would almost certainly attend more games if ownership cared a single iota more. Players who deserve so much better.

Instead, it’s another year of A’s baseball where the team is prepared to move, but might not actually move, but also needs a new lease for Oakland Coliseum while the Vegas site is built, yadda yadda yadda, baseball chaos!

And even as they continue to disrespect both the city and fans, the Oakland A’s still expect people to flock to their pit which just happens to feature a baseball field.

Greatest Addition: Alex Wood. How do you help a rotation whose projected ace is 30-year-old righty Paul Blackburn? You add the journeyman lefty Alex Wood and his Stretch Armstrong lineup on a one-year deal. Wood spent the last three years across the Bay with the Giants and had a 4.33 ERA in 29 games (12 starts).

The southpaw sinker specialist should be the No. 3 or 4 starter for the A’s this year and, if healthy should eat some innings. And if he proves still effective at age 33, maybe Oakland does the smart thing at the deadline and trades him for prospects.

Greatest Loss: Trevor May. You wouldn’t think an accidental closer is that big a loss, particularly the aging May. He fell into the ninth inning role in Oakland last year and registered a career high 21 saves. May then called it a career after an all-too-brief nine seasons.

He immediately went what’s becoming a popular route for retired players and started his own YouTube channel. This decision, believe it or not, is what made May the A’s biggest loss:

Would May’s words have landed the same way if he were still on the team? Most definitely not. What’s sad is that the young A’s locker room easily lost one of its strongest advocates.

Greatest Strength: The fans. There’s no doubt that, at every team’s core, is the same key core strength: their fans. Attendance numbers aside, everyone who flocks to the stadium or watches the game on TV is what makes teams go.

You’d never know it based on their record, but A’s fans were easily the strongest last year. Time and time again they took over sections of Oakland Coliseum, cheering loudly even as their team got crushed. All while imploring notorious owner John Fisher to keep Vegas as a vacation spot and not their team’s new home.

This isn’t taught. This, dear readers, is flesh and blood. These are fans who love their A’s through and through. But hey, why have them when you can have the city with the largest transient population in the US?

Greatest Weakness: Ownership just doesn’t care. I’ve been covering sports long enough that I’m pretty familiar with how everyone does the new stadium dance. A team cries poverty and says it can’t invest in building a new team without a new stadium. Cue fights over public and private funding, plus finding a site, and an eventual agreement. Relocation only comes up if all other options have been exhausted.

Fisher did not follow this road map. At all. He negotiated with Oakland in bad faith for the sole purpose of getting a better deal in Las Vegas. Why should anyone believe the team will move and the A’s will suddenly have a $200 million payroll?

John Fisher does not care about the Oakland A’s. He cares about building the new stadium in Vegas, moving the team, and then selling it to the highest roller, er, bidder.

Is there any reason to be excited for the A’s in 2024? Yes. Because the Vegas move has become such a hot mess that Oakland’s passionate fans should turn out even more this season. We can only hope their numbers equal or exceed 2023’s.

This isn’t a random nothing team. These are the Oakland freaking Athletics! They have rich history in not one, not two, but three cities and several alumni in the Hall of Fame.

To Fisher, though, they’re just a $50 comp at the craps tables plus a buffet voucher.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.