The Oakland Athletics had to search for a new manager this offseason for the first time since 2011, as long-time manager Bob Melvin was hired away by the San Diego Padres in October. The replacement will be former A’s player Mark Kotsay, confirms CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden.
Kotsay, 46, started coaching in 2015 as the Padres’ hitting coach. He took over as A’s bench coach (MLB‘s version of a top assistant) for the 2016 season and also since served as quality control coach and third-base coach in Oakland. Taking over as manager is a promotion from within, so the A’s will have continuity in the dugout, even if Melvin is missed.
The A’s appear poised to take a bit of a step back here in the next few years. After back-to-back 97-win seasons (2018 and 2019) btoh ended with Wild Card Game losses, they were 36-24 in the shortened 2020 season and lost in the ALDS. Last year, they went 86-76 and missed the playoffs. Once the owner-imposed lockout is ended, the most likely path the A’s take heading toward the 2022 season is a bit of a sell off (Matt Olson? Matt Chapman? Chris Bassitt?).
The good news for Kotsay is such a move would clear the path for low expectations in his first managerial job.
Kotsay spent parts of 17 seasons in the majors as a player. He had stints with the Brewers, Braves, Red Sox, White Sox, Marlins and Padres in addition to his four seasons with the A’s. By WAR, he had his best season with the A’s in 2004 and he even finished 14th in MVP voting that year after hitting .314/.370/.459 with 37 doubles, 15 homers, 63 RBI, 78 runs and eight steals.
All 30 teams now currently have a manager, with the A’s filling their vacancy fresh off the Mets hiring Buck Showalter.