Los Angeles Angels

Angels could have hired fresh voice, but they hired Brad Ausmus

The Los Angeles Angels needed a fresh voice in the dugout after Mike Scioscia’s departure, but they’ve hired Brad Ausmus instead.

As their crosstown rival Los Angeles Dodgers get ready for their second straight trip to the World Series, the Los Angeles Angels haven’t even made the postseason since 2014 and they haven’t had a winning season since 2015. Mike Scioscia’s departure as manager was inevitable after 19 seasons, and on Sunday the Angels announced the hiring of Brad Ausmus as their new manager.

Ausmus managed the Detroit Tigers from 2014-2017, with 90 wins and an American League Central title in his first season. But the Tigers’ expensive group of veterans all got old at the same time, and a 64-98 mark in 2017 got Ausmus fired. In Ron Gardenhire’s first season as skipper this year the Tigers matched last year’s record, but two 100-plus loss teams in the division yielded a third-place finish.

Ausmus surfaced as a candidate for managerial openings right after being let go by Detroit, and again in the current hiring cycle. He worked as a special assistant to Angels general manager Billy Eppler this year, so Ausmus is actually something of an internal hire.

At one point, fellow Angels special assistant/fill-in Triple A manager Eric Chavez had emerged as the favorite to replace Scioscia. Chavez is surely now a candidate to be on Ausmus’ coaching staff, if he doesn’t get some late managerial consideration elsewhere and doesn’t carry sour grapes about being passed over for the Angels’ job.

Ausmus will be formally announced as the 21st manager in Angels’ history on Monday, and he’ll get a three-year contract

Like Scioscia Ausmus was a long-time major league catcher, so the two are similar in that surface-level way. But the part of Eppler’s statement regarding an “understanding of evolving strategies” feels like an attempt to clearly separate the two, since Scioscia was notably old school and tended to shun deep analytics. But there’s little or no supporting evidence from Ausmus’ tenure as Tigers’ manager to back up that assertion.

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Quite simply, due to bad decisions and bad luck to a lesser degree, Mike Trout’s prime is being wasted by the Angels. A fresh, dynamic voice in the dugout might have helped. But instead, Ausmus and his .486 winning percentage as a manager are coming in to replace Scioscia.

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