The A’s have confirmed Mark Kotsay’s 2022 coaching staff today. We’re still no further forward in terms of the MLB owners and players coming to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but at least we’ll be ready to go if there actually is a Spring Training.
The thought process has been that it was an easy decision for MLB to lock-out the players over the off-season and it would be the potential of losing valuable Spring Training game revenue that would be the next deadline to focus minds. That seems to be the case following the news this week that the first talks since the lock-out were about as productive as a Met Police investigation into breaches of Covid restrictions on Downing Street.
Spring Training games are due to start on 26 February, so we’re now at the halfway point between the MLB owners’ decision to lock-out the players six weeks ago and the action in Arizona and Florida being set to begin.
Although it doesn’t look overly positive right now, these things can change quite quickly if one side is prepared to shift on an important issue for the other. It’s not simply a case of waiting for someone to blink, more waiting for one side to feel that making a certain move at a certain time will give them the best chance of achieving a deal in their favour.
We’ll leave such wrangling to one side and focus on what we do know, namely who Mark Kotsay will have alongside him in the dugout.
The main news is the confirmation of the rumours that Brad Ausmus will be Kotsay’s bench coach. It’s an interesting appointment as Ausmus is not your classic veteran manager taking on a supporting role. He has five years of experience managing at the Big League level, which should be useful for Kotsay to call on, yet you’d expect him to harbour ambitions of getting back into the hot seat.
This doesn’t mean that Kotsay needs to be looking nervously over his shoulder for a potential coaching coup. The way the A’s Front Office operates means that he can be assured of plenty of backing; however it will be interesting to see how the dynamic between the two plays out and how Ausmus approaches taking a step backwards. Although his four years with Detroit and one tough year in Anaheim didn’t go the way he would have wanted, his attention to detail and work ethic were always notable and you would expect he will throw himself into this new role in a positive way.
Elsewhere, the much-maligned Darren Bush has been moved from hitting coach to third-base coach, with Tommy Everidge moving up from Triple-A to take on that role and Chris Chron joining as the assistant hitting coach. Eric Martins and Mike Aldrete shift to new positions, whilst Scott Emerson and Marcus Jensen remain as pitching and bullpen coaches respectively.
All we need now is for them to have some players to coach. We know that will happen at some point. The two questions that remain are when that will be the case and, based on John Fisher’s budget, what type of roster they will have to work with?