Oakland A’s manager Mark Kotsay addresses his future, potential opportunity with the Giants

Kotsay, GM David Forst spoke to reporters in year-end conference call on Tuesday

Could Oakland A’s manager Mark Kotsay trade his A’s hat for a Giants hat this offseason?

Kotsay isn’t opposed to it.

On a conference call with reporters on Tuesday morning, Kotsay sounded open to the possibility, but his focus is on the present. And he currently works for the A’s.

“I’m cemented in this organization and in this relationship with (general manager David Forst), for sure,” he stated. “I’m not the type to walk away or even consider quitting. David and I have discussed the importance of seeing this through.

“Of course, there may be opportunities in the future.” One was mentioned (in the media) in connection with the Giants. “I think my focus today, sitting here, is with this organization.”

Kotsay is in the unusual position of having come off back-to-back 100-loss seasons while still being regarded as a well-respected manager who would be better served leading a team with legitimate contending aspirations.

Forst claimed that Kotsay and his team “did an incredible job this year of finding positives and looking for things to work towards in order to keep this group going.”

Kotsay is unlikely to be held accountable for an A’s roster that has gone 110-214 (.340) in his two years in charge. The team has used only a few veterans while relying heavily on a group of young players, few of whom are considered top prospects.

The A’s had only one prospect in Baseball America’s top-100 entering the season, Tyler Soderstrom (No. 34).

“From a coaching standpoint, our objective is to stay positive through this process,” Kotsay stated. “We understand where we are with the roster, with the youth on the roster… Our focus shifts to education.”

Kotsay’s A’s tied an MLB record for most losses in April, going 5-23.

The team’s record through 55 games was 10-45 (.182), the worst of any team in the last century.

But Kotsay’s unwavering optimism and ability to see the silver lining in even the darkest of situations gave them a glimmer of hope.

“That was the message from the beginning,” he stated. “April was a difficult month for me, possibly the most difficult month of my baseball career.” As a competitor and a leader, I’m digging deep to figure out how to keep this group from devolving into negativity and how to improve. That was to jump in and teach as much as I could while remaining as positive as possible and focusing on the small victories.”

They turned things around in June and finished the season 40-67 (.374), more than doubling their winning percentage through the first 55 games.

Among the accomplishments are 28-year-old journeyman Brent Rooker hitting 30 home runs, Esteury Ruiz stealing 67 bases, Trevor May overcoming anxiety issues to record 21 saves, and 23-year-old Zack Gelof making his big league debut on July 14 and then posting an.840 OPS, ranking 19th in the league from that point on.

“Going from five wins in April to having 11 wins in September says we had the right mindset, kept the right culture and continued to focus on those small positives that at the end of the day you can find some joy from,” Kotsay stated. “But in no way would I talk about this season as a successful one.”

Forst said it was difficult for anyone to watch the team finish with the most losses in the league while also finalizing plans for a move to Las Vegas in 2028. MLB owners will vote on the proposed move in November.

“Mark probably downplays the impact it had on him and the coaching staff and the players, but I was there, I sat in the stands, I know what it was like out there at times,” said the general manager. “It was important for those guys on the field and in the dugout to be able to focus on what they were doing – and they did.” Nobody is unaware of what is going on in the stadium or in our organization, but they did an excellent job of focusing on the game.”

Will next year be more of the same as the A’s play their final season at the Coliseum before their lease expires at the end of 2024?

Forst promised it would be different this time. He insisted that the team would compete for free agents this offseason.

“We are not going to shy away from free agency,” he stated. “We have a lot of talent here but also have holes to fill.”

However, he would not say whether the payroll would be increased from an MLB-low $57 million on Opening Day.

“Those conversations are still ongoing,” he stated. “I don’t have an answer for you yet.” “I am confident that we will have money to spend on free agents.”

A’s fans will not be holding their breath.

“I think the passion of Oakland A’s fans was incredible and on full display this season,” Forst stated. “I’ve been here for 24 years. I have a lot of fans among my friends. I have family in the community, I interact with fans all the time, and I’m well aware of how much people care about the team and how much the events of this year have affected them. They did an incredible job displaying that passion both inside and outside the stadium throughout the year.”

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