As much as the Angels valued Tom Kotchman’s work as a scout and minor league manager for the last three decades, they asked him earlier this month to give up his on-field duties with Class-A Orem (Utah) and focus solely on scouting.
Kotchman’s response was to do neither. The longest-tenured manager in the Angels farm system and the father of Cleveland Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman resigned Friday after 29 years in the organization.
“He understood our position and decided this was the way he’d rather go,” said Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who hadn’t spoken to Kotchman as of Saturday afternoon. “Tom is a terrific baseball man — he’s been an impact scout, and he’s had an impact on player development.
“But at the end of the day, it’s difficult to do both. With a 365-day scouting calendar, we felt it was hard to pull a guy out for that long. We thought it was important to separate the two roles. But by no stretch did we want to lose Tom Kotchman. We felt he was a tremendous assest to the organization.”
News of Kotchman’s resignation was first reported late Friday night on Baseball America’s website.
Kotchman, 58, spent the last 23 years managing the organization’s short-season Class-A affiliates in Idaho and Utah, where his teams consisted mostly of recently drafted college players in their first professional seasons.
He joined the Angels in 1984 and spent three seasons (1987-89) managing at triple-A Edmonton. In 34 years as a minor league manager — he spent five years in the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers organizations — Kotchman’s teams went 1,704-1,435 for a .543 winning percentage.
Kotchman, a native of Florida, began scouting in his home state for the Angels in 1990 and signed more than a dozen players who would reach the major leagues, including second baseman Howie Kendrick, catchers Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson and pitchers Nick Maronde, Will Smith, who is now with Kansas City, and Patrick Corbin, who is now with Arizona.
Casey Kotchman was a first-round pick of the Angels in 2001 and spent five seasons (2004-2008) with the big league club before being traded to the Atlanta Braves in July 2008.
Tom Kotchman also managed future Angels stars such as Garret Anderson, Troy Percival, Erick Aybar and Mark Trumbo in the Northwest League, as well as former Red Sox ace Roger Clemens when he worked for Boston.