A's GM on next skipper as trade talk begins

November 10th, 2021

The departure of longtime manager Bob Melvin may have only been the beginning of one of the more active offseasons for the A’s in recent memory.

In addition to seeking out a new skipper, A’s general manager David Forst found his club at the epicenter of the Hot Stove rumor mill as MLB’s GM Meetings got underway on Tuesday at the Omni Hotel in Carlsbad, Calif.

Day 1 of the meetings began with MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reporting that A’s are open to hearing trade offers for a number of veterans, including starting pitchers Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas as Oakland deals with a payroll crunch this winter. Later in the day, a report from fellow Network insider Jon Paul Morosi linked the Yankees among the multiple teams interested in trading for A’s star first baseman Matt Olson. Suffice to say, Forst and executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane have a lot on their plate these days.

“Obviously, we’re having trade discussions and starting a major [managerial] search,” Forst said.

The A’s have operated in cycles over the past decade, alternating three- or four-year periods of playoff contention with rebuilding phases once players begin to command salaries that exceed the club’s tight financial constraints. That’s why even after a year in which they went 86-76 and narrowly missed out on a fourth straight postseason appearance, it might not come as a surprise to see the A’s move core players like Olson, Bassitt, Manaea and third baseman Matt Chapman -- all of whom are due for hefty salary raises in arbitration -- in package deals for prospects to replenish an Oakland farm system that ranks 28th among Major League clubs, according to MLB Pipeline.

As for the managerial search, Forst said the club intends to take a good look at in-house options for the position, including third-base coach Mark Kotsay and bench coach Ryan Christenson. The A’s could also reach out to names outside of the organization, such as Braves third-base coach Ron Washington and bench coach Walt Weiss, both of whom have connections to Oakland and are fresh off winning a World Series with Atlanta.

Given that the A's would have to reach out to request interviews for any outside options, it might take a few months for a decision on the new manager to play out.

“We don’t have a timeline yet for when we’re going to get started,” Forst said. “But we have really good internal candidates. At some point, we’ll ask permission on external candidates to talk. We have a list of both.”

Whoever takes over as manager could have nearly a full coaching staff already in place. Forst indicated that while Melvin is now in San Diego, his entire coaching staff from Oakland remains intact with contracts for next season, and he’s not expecting any of them to join Melvin with the Padres.

“All seven of our coaches are under contract for 2022,” said Forst, “so I don’t anticipate that.”