Athletics pick up manager Mark Kotsay's contract option for 2025 season

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — As the losses piled up for a second straight season under his watch, Mark Kotsay regularly walked through Oakland's clubhouse after games to check in with players, encourage them and even turn the music on to lift everybody's spirits when needed.

The Athletics believe in Kotsay's leadership through all of the challenges and changes, exercising the manager's contract option for 2025.

The club made the announcement Tuesday about Kotsay's future following a 50-112 season that followed a 60-102 record during Kotsay's first season in 2022.

That ability of Kotsay's to pull a player aside and share his own expertise has been so beneficial for the young A's.

“Mark comes from a unique background in terms of having experienced so many different things in the game as a player and being a first-round pick and highly decorated and coming up to the big leagues and struggling and being part of a team that lost 100-plus games,” general manager David Forst said during a conference call. “From there going on to being an All-Star, being part of playoff teams but also finishing his career as kind of a journeyman, bouncing around from team to team, so he's had all these experiences.”

A former major league outfielder who turns 48 next month, Kotsay signed a three-year contract through 2024 with a club option for '25.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this process with David and build a contending team with him,” Kotsay said in a text message to The Associated Press. “We’re committed to seeing this through together. I’m also thankful to have the support from ownership and commitment they’ve made to me.”

Despite the 110-214 record, Kotsay has helped foster a positive outlook inside the clubhouse even amid dwindling crowds largely due to owner John Fisher’s efforts to relocate to Las Vegas as well as fans seeing their favorite stars leave for years via trades and free agency. That relocation plan could be approved during next week's owners meetings.

“I talked after the year about the job I think Mark has done the last two years in leading this group and managing the clubhouse and really establishing himself as the leader and kind of the face of the franchise on the field,” Forst said. “I couldn't be happier with the work he's done there, so this was easy from our end.”

Kotsay was granted permission to interview with the Mets and did meet with New York, but Forst said discussions were underway months ago about picking up the option.

“Opportunities come and I think it's important employees are committed to where they are and that they explore things,” said Forst, reiterating that Kotsay has chosen to stay put rather than further pursue other positions.

Forst expects a couple of changes to the A's coaching staff.