The current lockout effectively freezes any talks with free agents and trade discussions. However, there are still active aspects of the sport, most relevant in the coaching market. General Managers can work to fill staff openings during this time and they’ve been active over the past couple of weeks - Let’s get you informed with all of the major moves that you need to be aware of, heading into the 2022 season, hopefully.
Early in the offseason, longtime A’s manager Bob Melvin agreed to leave the Bay Area and take over the opening in San Diego after Jayce Tingler lost his job following a very underwhelming 2021 campaign that saw the hyped San Diego Padres miss the playoffs entirely. San Diego still has an exciting young core and there’s no reason to believe this team won’t contend for the foreseeable future. That scenario plus the support of ownership, who’s shown it’ll be willing to spend, help illustrate why Melvin opted for a change that’s not really common in the sport.
The Oakland Athletics were left to look elsewhere for a new manager after a decade with Bob Melvin at the helm. The ball club by all indications seems headed for a full-on rebuild which makes for a rather challenging undertaking for their next manager. Oakland’s front office decided to look in-house and hire longtime staff member, Mark Kotsay.
The 46-year-old first-time manager had a variety of roles with the A’s, most recently being the third-base coach. He actually interviewed for multiple manager roles during the 2019-20 offseason, but ultimately didn’t land any gig and I’m sure the A’s didn’t envision him being their manager by 2022, but the surprising exit of Melvin made it happen and they ought to be glad he stuck around - Kotsay was formally announced on December 21st with a three-year contract plus a club option.
It’s interesting that in a way the A’s and Mets are following similar approaches in their bench coach searches. The A’s just announced the hiring of Brad Ausmus for the role, the former Tigers and Angels manager will be the experienced complement to Kotsay and by all reports, the Mets are looking for a young bench coach to bring in a more analytic view and complement Buck Showalter.
The New York Mets in a stunning development also announced Eric Chavez as the team’s new hitting coach. This comes as a shock and also a statement hire, given that Chavez agreed to fill the same role with the Yankees, but not a month ago. How exactly that will work out in detail remains to be seen.
Other reported hires that will help fill this new Mets staff are Wayne Kirby and Joey Cora as the first and third-base coaches respectively. It’s worth pointing out that nothing’s been officially announced as of yet, but these are credible sources.