Director of athletics Mark Kotsay has only been in the job for a few months, but he’s already seen several core members of the team leave before they’ve even managed a major league game.
Sunday, it was starting pitcher Sean Manaea, who was dealt to the San Diego Padres for two prospects. While the move wasn’t particularly surprising given the A’s reported weeks ago, they were in rebuilding mode trading Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman in the space of days, the reality of losing without doubt the best starter in the team will undoubtedly be injured for Kotsay and the players.
During the broadcast of the A’s-Padres spring training game on Sunday — which coincidentally featured Manaea as a starter for the Padres — Kotsay was asked by A’s broadcaster Glen Kuiper about how the morning was going. took place since days like this are not easy.
“It depends on what you call easy and what you call difficult,” Kotsay said. “Obviously losing Sean here, he’s been the heart and soul of the staff for the past few years, and his impact inside this clubhouse will be felt, but hey, these guys have been there.”
Manaea ended his A’s career with a winning record in five consecutive seasons. Last year he was a workaholic, striking out a career-high 194 batters, and also tied for the American League lead in starts.
The silver lining for the A’s with all the holes in the lineup and starting rotation is that playing time will open up for anyone to take advantage of. While Kotsay would probably have preferred to rely on Manaea and the other veterans, the mentality he preaches at the club is that of the ‘next man’.
“We’ve been through this year so far, and our mentality is, ‘Hey, next man,'” Kotsay said. “That’s kind of the message for today: the next man.”
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Perhaps the two spots suddenly opened up in the starting rotation with the departures of Manaea and Bassitt will give the next budding homegrown star a chance.
But first, the A players and their fans had to watch painfully – and maybe try not to cry – as Manaea took the mound against them on Sunday, and even said hello to his (now) former teammates.