The quest of the Pittsburgh Pirates to find a new manager turned up another name earlier on Monday. Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pirates had interest in former MLB outfielder and first baseman Mark Kotsay.
Mark Kotsay played for seven different teams across his 17 year big league career and is most well-known for his time in San Diego and Oakland. He currently serves as a quality control coach for the Athletics, a position he has held since 2017.
Kotsay has stuck around the game since his retirement in 2013. He immediately moved into a special assistant position with the Padres front office in 2014. In December of that same year he was named the club’s hitting coach before becoming Oakland’s bench coach a year later.
This name is the latest in the growing list of potential Pirates managers for the 2020 season and beyond. He joins the likes of former big leaguers Jason Kendall and Derek Shelton in Pittsburgh’s search. Sam Fuld reportedly declined to interview for multiple MLB managerial vacancies, including the Pirates.
Similar to Shelton, Kotsay has spent the majority of both his playing and non-playing days within small markets. Despite not having previous experience as a manager, he should have familiarity with how a smaller market and low-budget team operates.
There does not appear to be any connections between Kotsay and this current Pirates regime, including GM Neal Huntington. I’d like to view this as a good thing in regards to bringing different ideas on how to run this club.
Kotsay has expressed previous interest in being a big league skipper. Earlier this month, mlbtraderumors.com dropped this quote from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:
"“Managing a team would interest me, for sure,” Kotsay told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is priority No. 1 here (with the A’s). When the time comes, if I get that opportunity to be part of the process, I’d definitely be open to that.”"
Browsing through Twitter and the Pirates subreddit, fans do not seem to heavily opinionated on the prospect of Kotsay as the next manager in Pittsburgh. Personally, I think the hire would be a good one. The Padres went from a horrendous .226 average team in 2014 to a slightly less horrendous .243 average team in 2015 with Kotsay as the hitting coach. They didn’t light the world on fire offensively or make the playoffs, but the improvement is noteworthy and I think he can really help out some of the younger Buccos.
It is clear the organization wants a young up-and-coming manager at the helm to lead this young core into the future. I fear an older, more experienced manager may not be patient enough to properly guide this rebuild.