The Athletics decided to hire Mark Kotsay as their new manager after Bob Melvin vacated the position to take a more favorable one with the Padres. Kotsay has been a coach under Melvin since 2016. What does this move say about the Athletics, both present and future?
Maintaining a Winning Culture
Much has been made of the Athletics’ lack of funds, from their potential to move to the possibility of a rebuild starting any time now, but the signing of Mark Kotsay marks a strong tie between the old and new. Not only was Kotsay a coach under Bob Melvin, but he played for the Athletics from 2004-2007, so he has a history with the ball club.
Kotsay was also a highly sought after managerial candidate, previously interviewing with the Tigers, Astros and Giants. While he didn’t get any of those jobs before, it’s clear Kotsay is seen around the league as someone with coaching potential. Time will tell if Kotsay can prove he can be the manager everyone thinks he can be, but it’s promising he’s been given the reigns after seven years of coaching in the big leagues.
Potential for the Future
Even if the Athletics go into rebuilding mode, keeping most of the same coaching staff, including the promotion of Kotsay, shows their confidence that this staff can coach up the future of the team. And since Kotsay doesn’t have major league managerial experience, he has the ability to mold with his team and create a new culture with a rebuilt team if necessary. Give him the reigns now, and in 5 years or so when the rebuild is over you have a manager with some experience and rapport with the young guys who were brought up through the system.
Now, there’s not a lot of talent in their farm right now (they’re ranked 29th by Baseball America), but if they rebuild you’d expect that to change after they trade their current stars like Matt Olsen and Matt Chapman for prospects. Once the lockout is over, we should get a clearer picture of what the team wants to do with their current roster.
So What Now?
Overall, I think the signing of Kotsay is a good move with the potential to be great. There’s a lot of things going for him, whether the team stays competitive or enters a rebuilding season. We’ll have to wait until the season starts to find out for sure.
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