While the Winter Meetings overall were a bit of a dud, the Oakland Athletics contributed precisely nothing to the conversation. The A's didn't make any trades or signings and fell outside the top 3 in the 2024 draft lottery.
The one roster move they did make was add RHP Mitch Spence from the NY Yankees in Wednesday's Rule 5 draft. According to GM David Forst, Spence could compete for a rotation spot in the spring, or could be a part of the bullpen puzzle depending on performance.
In Las Vegas relocation news, agent Scott Boras blasted John Fisher and MLB for allowing the Athletics' relocation to happen the way it has. Boras' main job is getting his clients into preferred situations. As it currently stands, the Athletics don't have a place to call home after the Coliseum lease runs out at the end of 2024.
The Athletics might end up playing at the Coliseum, depending on whether Fisher can come to an agreement with Mayor Sheng Thao and the city of Oakland, or if MLB forces the issue. They may play at Oracle in San Francisco, or they may end up in a Triple-A stadium in Nevada.
Scott Boras bashes John Fisher and the Athletics over lack of clarity about relocation
The fact that we don't know which option the Athletics will choose is a big point of contention, both for Boras and according to Forst, for free agents the Athletics are having conversations with. Boras was quoted in a report from the SF Chronicle ($), stating "They’re not certain where they’re going to be at any time. And it’s really not good for baseball players. It’s not in any way customary to any other franchise".
The fact of the matter is that it's not customary for an MLB team to not have a designated ballpark for an extended period of time. The Athletics will have three seasons in limbo, from 2025 through 2027. If they end up playing at the Coliseum in Oakland, the attendance figures will likely be embarrassingly low. If they play in San Francisco, there's a lot of ways it could go bad in terms of creating bad blood with the fanbase and league. And if they have to play in a minor league park, there's seemingly high potential for a grievance from the players union.
John Fisher has made a complete mess of the relocation process. The team was originally scheduled to reveal their updated ballpark renderings this past Monday, but the event was postponed due to tragic unrelated events. At present, there are no public ballpark renderings for the new Las Vegas stadium.
So not only are players unaware of where they'll be playing and living 12 months from now, they don't even know what a potential ballpark might look like in 2028. Even if Fisher was willing to allocate the resources to sign a player to a long-term deal, there's just such limited clarity about what the Athletics' future looks like that it makes Forst's job that much more difficult.
It's unclear what the next few months will bring for Fisher and the Athletics, but it's fair to expect the road to be bumpy and unpleasant.