All things considered, a 5-4 win-loss record from last week was about par.
The A’s were on a horrendous slide having lost nine games in a row, so to recover from that by winning four of five against Detroit was very important for morale.
The Angels were always going to be a very different proposition to the toothless Tigers, especially playing them four times in three days. A 2-2 split would have been a good return, so whilst losing three of four was disappointing, it all added up to a steady week to build on.
The schedule gets no easier, with three home games against the Minnesota Twins (who swept us in a three-game series just over a week ago) and three more against the Angels.
I reviewed last week’s action, and previewed the upcoming Twins series, in a YouTube live-stream yesterday evening. You can find that here, including a few button-pushing production mishaps along the way!
We’ve published an excerpt from the recent podcast episode on our YouTube channel, bringing you our discussion about Mark Kotsay’s appointment in glorious technicolour.
We’ve also had an excellent response on Twitter to our request for suggestions to name the A’s UK prospect cow! Send through any further names via Twitter or in the Comments section below and we’ll pick our favourite in the next podcast episode.
Dom and I discuss the appointment of Mark Kotsay as the A’s new manager, including the debut of my promised “Hey, Hey It’s Mark Kotsay” song. We run the rule over the revamped coaching staff, catch-up on the state of play in the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and bring you an Oakland soccer update with some Roots News.
We also take a trip around the A’s Farm, leading to us seeking a name for the A’s UK prospect farm cow. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments!
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.
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.
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:
Hannah, Dom and I have put together a bumper season preview podcast that’s now available via all of the major outlets.
Among the many things we discussed were:
Looking at the likely Opening Day roster,
Sharing our thoughts on our AL West division rivals,
Putting forward our predictions for the season ahead,
Regular features like “Random A’s Fact” and “Roots News”.
I usually end up publishing the podcast the evening after we’ve recorded it and that can often tempt fate in terms of news make us look silly, wrong, or silly and wrong!
We didn’t really get hit by that this time around, although it’s worth noting that it’s been announced that Austin Allen will start the season in Triple-A, so the back-up catcher role is down to a choice of two: Aramis Garcia and Carlos Pérez.
We leaned towards Garcia getting the spot and I’m still going along with that. The only thing that might tip it in Pérez’s favour is if the team feels Sean Murphy may need a bit more rest than usual in the early weeks after his health scare over the off-season. That could mean Pérez’s greater experience at the Big League level factors more heavily into the equation.
We had a good time making the podcast so be sure to check it out and to subscribe via your favourite podcast source as we’ll be publishing a new episode on pretty much a weekly basis once the action gets going.