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Adam Rosales, Bobby Crosby, Rico Brogna among 2021 Oakland A’s minor league managers

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A’s announce 2021 player development staff

Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays
Rookie League manager Adam Rosales
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s announced their 2021 Player Development Staff on Tuesday, from the top of the organization all the way down to positions you didn’t know existed.

The highest-profile posts remain the same. Ed Sprague returns for his second year as the Director of Player Development, and his predecessor Keith Lieppman stays on board as a special adviser in his 51st season with the team. Grady Fuson is still around as a special assistant to the general manager, Gil Patterson starts his sixth straight year as minor league pitching coordinator, and Jim Eppard is in his sixth straight as minor league hitting coordinator.

Also returning are Steve Scarsone (minor league outfield and baserunning) and Juan Navarette (minor league infield), both in their second seasons in those roles but with a decade or two of time in the A’s org overall. Gabe Ortiz enters his second year as the minor league catching coordinator. Longtime minor league manager Webster Garrison moves to an advisory role.

Minor league managers

Finally, the other notable section of this staff is the list of minor league managers. It’s shorter this year, with the minors undergoing a streamlining that removed some teams from each organization. There are now five squads that need skippers:

  • Triple-A Las Vegas: Fran Riordan
  • Double-A Midland: Bobby Crosby
  • High-A Lansing: Scott Steinmann
  • Low-A Stockton: Rico Brogna
  • Rookie (Arizona): Adam Rosales

The top of the list is Riordan, who has led the Triple-A team since 2018. Crosby was set to manage High-A in Stockton this year before the season was canceled, but he’ll move up to Midland instead, where he previously served as a coach in 2019. He essentially trades places with Steinmann, who had been at the helm in Double-A since 2018 but now moves to the new affiliate in Lansing.

The Stockton Ports were demoted to Low-A as part of the minor league realignment, and they’ll get a new skipper in Brogna. The former first baseman spent seven seasons working for a few teams including the Rays, Angels, and Phillies, and his resume includes one year as a manager in Double-A (for the D’Backs in 2010).

Finally, down in the Arizona Rookie League, the A’s will have just one team after fielding two for the last couple years. The manager will be Rosales, in his debut in that position, after he was slated to be a coach at this level in 2020.

In lieu of any meaningful analysis regarding minor league managers, it’s at least fun to enjoy the memorable former players on the list. Crosby was a Rookie of the Year shortstop for the A’s and spent seven seasons in Oakland, even if we still give him grief for swinging at those outside sliders. Rosales was a fan favorite for his legendary hustle including record-breaking home run sprints, as well as for his defensive versatility, permanent smile, and generally awesome positive attitude.

As for Brogna, he never played for the A’s, but he did spend nine seasons in the majors for five other teams, mostly the Phillies and Mets in the 1990s. The lefty hit 106 homers in his career, topping 20 in four different summers, and he graded out just below league-average overall at the plate (94 wRC+) and either just above or below replacement-level in 848 games (1.9 fWAR, -1.1 bWAR). Per Wikipedia, during his career he was diagnosed with a form of spinal arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis, and in 2015 he was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to address it.

Among the other minor league coaches, Tommy Everidge is now the Triple-A hitting coach after a few years doing that job in Double-A, and Rick Rodriguez is the pitching coach for the sixth straight year and 13th overall. Kevin Kouzmanoff is now the Double-A hitting coach, moving up from Rookie League.

Welcome to Brogna and the rest of the 2021 Player Development Staff!

Click here to revisit the 2020 coaching staff