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Elephant Rumblings: Kotsayin’ ain’t easy

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Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

When Mark Kotsay was the A’s third base coach, I remember a few occasions on which I wondered how on earth he thought it was a good idea to send a runner home. After two seasons as the A’s manager, I get the feeling that Kots hasn’t won over a lot of A’s fans, and I doubt there are many serious people out there who would say he’s been able to fill the shoes of his predecessor, Bob Melvin.

But given the A’s abandonment of any apparent commitment to on-field excellence, a manager like BoMel would be wasted on the team and its sub-$50 million payroll.

Kotsay is 110-214 since taking the helm in Oakland. That’s abysmal—but it really isn’t Kots’ fault. Sam Blum at The Athletic argues that Kotsay has the toughest managerial job in baseball, and he makes a strong case in support.

We don’t know where the A’s will be playing in 2025, but we know that Kotsay will still be managing the A’s, as the team has already picked up its option on Kots for next year.

It’s hard enough to manage the worst team in baseball, but being the team’s most recognizable public spokesperson while president Dave Kaval and owner John Fisher have gone largely silent after abandoning their “Rooted in Oakland” campaign and pivoting towards Las Vegas, Kotsay’s position seems nearly impossible.

Beholden to ownership, players, fans, and journalists alike, Kotsay has the finest of lines to walk.

Former A’s pitcher and vocal Fisher critic Trevor May lauded Kotsay for being straight with players in the clubhouse after the team announced its commitment to moving last April.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said that Kots has “handled such a delicate situation brilliantly.”

I’m not saying we shouldn’t hold Kots accountable for his in-game pitcher management this season—and I’m hoping he’ll improve in that area. But reading Blum’s piece has helped me better appreciate that Kotsay is truly “taking one for the team,” and then some.

Have a wonderful weekend, AN.

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