OAKLAND -- With a narrowed-down list of targets, the A’s are taking the next step in their search for a new manager.
The interview process is now underway, with a source confirming to MLB.com that Mark Kotsay has already met with the A’s front office to discuss the open managerial position. More first-round interviews are expected to take place over the next few weeks, with MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reporting that Oakland’s interview list includes Darren Bush, Matt Quatraro, Joe Espada, Will Venable and Marcus Jensen.
Kotsay is seen as an ideal successor to Bob Melvin, who left to manage the Padres this offseason after an 11-year stint that saw him become the winningest manager in Oakland history. After playing 17 big league seasons, including four with the A’s from 2004-07, Kotsay has worked his way up the coaching ladder. Spending two seasons with San Diego as a special assistant to the front office in 2014 and hitting coach for the Padres in ‘15, Kotsay made his way back to the A’s in ‘16 and became Melvin’s right-hand man as bench coach. From 2017-20, Kotsay worked as a quality control coach before shifting to third-base coach last season. Over the past few years, Kotsay has interviewed for managerial openings with the Tigers, Astros and Giants.
Quatraro, who has served as bench coach of the Rays since 2018, is also reportedly set to interview with the Mets for their managerial opening. The 48-year-old coach has generated interest for openings in recent seasons, reportedly a finalist in Pittsburgh’s last manager search while also interviewing with the Giants and Tigers.
Espada, 46, has been lauded for his player development during his time with both the Astros, with whom he currently works for as bench coach under manager Dusty Baker, and Yankees, having served as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman and later as the club’s third-base coach in a stint with New York from 2013-17. Espada is also connected to the A’s, having been selected by them in the second round of the 1996 MLB Draft and spending five seasons in the club’s Minor League system.
Venable, 39, is not far removed from his playing days. He retired in 2016 after nine Major League seasons and was hired by the Cubs in ‘17 as a special assistant to Theo Epstein. Shifting from first base coach to third base coach over the next two seasons, Venable joined current Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s staff as bench coach in 2020. In addition to the Bay Area connection as he was born in Marin County while his father, Max, played for the Giants, Venable also carries Ivy League ties having attended Princeton, the rival school of A’s general manager and Harvard graduate David Forst.
Bush (hitting coach) and Jensen (bullpen coach) are in-house options who also spent several years on Melvin’s staff. Both have managerial experience at the Minor League level of the organization. Bush experienced great success managing at Class A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento from 2005-12, while Jensen managed the Arizona Athletics of the Arizona Rookie League from 2009-13.
There is no timetable for the A’s to decide on a new manager. Asked about the search during last month’s GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., Forst indicated that there was no rush to make a decision any time soon and that the process could extend into February.