As much as the Angels valued Tom Kotchman's three decades of work as a minor league manager and scout, General Manager Jerry Dipoto asked him two weeks ago to give up his on-field duties with Class-A Orem (Utah) to focus solely on scouting.
Kotchman chose to do neither. The longest-tenured manager in the farm system and father of Cleveland first baseman and former Angels first-round pick Casey Kotchman resigned Friday after 29 years in the organization, though he said any inference he was "forced" out were not accurate.
"This was not a knee-jerk reaction, it had nothing to do with managing or scouting or doing one or the other," said Kotchman, who lives in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area in Florida. "After 29 years, I just felt it was my time to go. It was my time to find something closer to home."
Kotchman, 58, spent the last 23 years managing short-season Class-A affiliates in Idaho and Utah, where his teams consisted mostly of recently drafted college players. He joined the Angels in 1984 and spent three seasons (1987-90) managing at triple-A Edmonton.
In 34 years as a minor league manager — he spent five years with Boston and Detroit — Kotchman's teams were 1,704-1,435 for a .543 winning percentage.
Kotchman's wife, Susan, suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2008, and though she recovered, she retired from her job as a school principal. Kotchman prefers managing over the heavy travel of scouting but no longer wanted to do it so far from home.
"You can't keep burning the candles at both ends," Kotchman said. "I'm at peace with this decision."
So is Dipoto.
"He understood our position and decided this was the way he'd rather go," Dipoto said. "Tom is a terrific baseball man. He's been an impact scout, and he's had an impact on player development.
"But it's difficult to do both. With a 365-day scouting calendar, we thought it was important to separate the two roles. But by no stretch did we want to lose Tom. We felt he was a tremendous asset to the organization."
Kotchman signed more than a dozen players who reached the major leagues, including Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis, and managed future Angels stars such as Garret Anderson, Troy Percival, Erick Aybar and Mark Trumbo.