Sunday, January 24, 2010

A's of the Decade: Centerfield – Mark Kotsay

Years: 2004 – 2007

Other Candidates: Terrence Long (2000-2003); Johnny Damon (2001); Chris Singleton (2003); Nick Swisher (2004-2007); Carlos Gonzalez (2008); Rajai Davis (2009)

Summary: Acquired from the San Diego Padres after the 2003 season, Kotsay was brought in to fill Oakland's black bottomless hole of centerfield suck (Terrence Long and Chris Singleton, most notably). Kotsay was kind enough to record career-highs in several offensive categories during his first season with the A's and finished with a .314/.370/.459 line. Unfortunately, his 2004 season was driven by an unsustainable spike in batting average. Over his next three seasons, he hit .267/.321/.388 combined and averaged just 108 games played – down from 148 in 2004. Many A's fans remember him most fondly for his
reasonably attractive wife.

Favorite A's Moment: The obvious choice would be his
inside-the-park home run against Minnesota in Game #2 of the 2006 ALDS. But, I'll go with April 30, 2005, instead. M'man Vig and I were in attendance in Oakland on an afternoon when Kotsay went 5 for 6 with a walk-off single in the 10th inning. That game also featured a blown save by erstwhile A's closer, the combustible Octavio Dotel AND Jason Kendall batting third. Hard to believe we didn't make the playoffs that year.

Runner-Up: Nick Swisher

Worst of the Decade: Chris Singleton

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