TODAY: Espada’s interview has taken place, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).
DECEMBER 6: In addition to the recently-documented Matt Quatraro, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli verified five other managerial candidates for the vacant Oakland skipper position. Included in the current group of candidates are a number of names already within the Oakland organization— third base coach Mark Kotsay, bullpen coach Marcus Jensen, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Rounding out the group are Boston bench coach Will Venable and Houston bench coach Joe Espada. Half of the group (Quatraro, Kotsay, and Venable) has already interviewed, with the remaining half expected to interview soon.
After 11 seasons of .528 ball under Bob Melvin, it makes sense for Oakland brass to look to Melvin’s cohorts for a successor. Kotsay is likely the most familiar name among the internal candidates, as he is a 17-year veteran and played for seven different teams during his lengthy career. Dating back to 2014 Kotsay has assumed a number of Major League roles, accumulating the titles of hitting coach, bench coach, quality control coach, and third base coach. Kotsay is light on managerial experience but is no stranger to the managerial rumor mill, being linked to recent searches conducted by Houston, Boston, and Detroit.
A former catcher, Jensen was no stranger to the big leagues either, appearing in 7 Major League seasons for as many teams. Jensen has been in the Oakland organization since 2007, serving as a hitting coach and manager for several of Oakland’s minor league affiliates. He’s served as an A’s coach at the game’s highest level since 2014.
Bush is a baseball veteran as well, though has seen a notable chunk of his playing and coaching days come on the indie ball circuit. Since joining Oakland’s minor league ranks as a coach in 2004, Bush has accrued a good deal of managerial experience at the lower levels. His consistent success as a minor league manager led to a Major League promotion, where Bush has served as a bullpen or hitting coach since 2013.
Like Kotsay, Espada has been a fixture in managerial candidate discussions for years. The Houston coach and former second-rounder has seen his fair share of success over the past four years, recently piquing the interest of the Giants, Rangers, and Cubs.
Venable is a veteran of 9 Major League seasons, including an impressive 20-20 campaign in 2013 for the Padres. Since his retirement, Venable has worked in advisory and coaching positions for the Chicago Cubs. Venable hopped over to the Red Sox organization in 2020 and served as the bench coach for this year’s resurgent Boston club. Like others on this list, Venable has turned heads as a potential manager for years, drawing interviews for recent Houston and San Francisco vacancies.