It’s all quiet on the MLB Lock-out front, with no real news of talks or signs of progress on the owners and the Players Association coming to a deal.
That means MLB.com’s ‘blackout’ continues. All current player photos and videos have disappeared and no content mentioning players is allowed, which is a good reminder that for all the wonderful writers they have there, it is a glorified publicity machine on which everything should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
These restrictions have not impeded A’s beat writer Martín Gallegos and prospect writer Jonathan Mayo from filing a couple of stories this week that are worth reviewing.
Most notable is the article about the A’s search for a replacement for Bob Melvin and the six names currently in contention.
Ryan Christenson, he of the ‘inadvertent Nazi salute furore’ of 2020, reportedly will be joining Melvin in San Diego as Bench Coach, so that would appear to leave Mark Kotsay as the clear front-runner. Kotsay spent four seasons with the A’s as a player (2004-2007) and has been rising through the coaching ranks, including serving as the A’s third-base coach this past season.
Darren Bush (currently the hitting coach) and Marcus Jensen (bullpen coach) are the other two internal candidates mentioned. Bush’s name has been met with derision from some quarters of A’s Twitter, that being people who have absolutely no clue what he actually works on with individual players, but are sure that every time a player makes an out in a key spot it’s all because of something he told them to do (or not do).
As Gallegos notes, Bush has an impressive managerial record in the Minors and, whilst wider roster decisions play a significant role in win-loss records at the Minor League level, it does add another reason to ignore the noise and give his candidacy due respect.
External candidates in Matt Quatraro, Joe Espada and Will Venable are also mentioned, but my guess is that if Kotsay wants the job it will be his for the taking.
Will he want it? Well, the managerial merry-go-round in MLB is different to football in the UK in that at any one time there are only 30 gigs to be had. Add to that the knowledge that the A’s Front Office will be well aware of the quality of roster they give him (i.e. a few 90-loss seasons are not going to be held against him) and you’d have to expect he’d jump at the chance.
The A’s can take their time in making a decision given that nothing else is happening in MLB, and it’s possible they wouldn’t want to formally announce an appointment during the lock-out if they can avoid it, so it may be a while before we find out for sure.
Minor League Rule 5 Draft
Nothing screams MLB lock-out time excitement quite like the MiLB Rule 5 Draft!
We’re all familiar with the MLB section, where the likes of Mark Canha, Vimael Machín and brief 2021 curio Ka’ai Tom can be plucked from another team’s farm system and kept for keeps if they remain on the Big League roster for an entire season.
The Minor League section is more of a niche interest, but as there’s nothing else player-wise to keep us occupied then it’s worth highlighting.
The A’s lost one player in the form of Cobie Vance. He was an 18th round draft pick by the A’s in 2018 and played for the Lansing Lugnuts (High-A level) in 2021. On the positive side, we acquired two outfielders with Gabriel Maciel being selected from the Minnesota Twins in the first round and Vince Fernandez signed out of the San Francisco Giants’ farm system in the second round. Melissa Lockard of The Athletic summed it up thus:
Finally, if you haven’t seen it already, our season review podcast is now available via all the usual places, or direct here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/865651/9666612
We’ve also published a 15 minute excerpt on our YouTube channel:
We mention in the pod that we’re planning to do a pre-Christmas episode and that hopefully we’ll be able to do that as a live-stream too. We’ll let you all know when we have a time and date confirmed.