Los Angeles Angels

Angels should be falling over themselves to hire Joe Maddon

The Los Angeles Angels may move on from Brad Ausmus after just one season, and Joe Maddon is the most obvious candidate to be their new manager if a move is made.

The Los Angeles Angels wasted another year of Mike Trout’s prime this year, with a 72-90 record in Brad Ausmus’ first year as manager. After Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) suggested the Angels would target Joe Maddon if he was fired by the Chicago Cubs last week, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Sunday that Ausmus’ status is up in the air.

The worst kept secret in baseball became official on Sunday, as Maddon and team president Theo Epstein announced Maddon would not be back as Cubs’ manager next year. That officially puts him at the top of the wish list of many teams that do or may have a managerial opening. Maddon, who will turn 66 in February, has said he wants to manage 3-5 more seasons.

Maddon has deep ties to the Angels, as he worked in the organization for 31 years. He started as as a minor league catcher, before serving as a scout, minor league manager and roving hitting instructor in the farm system before eventually serving as bench coach for three Angels’ managers (Terry Collins, Marcel Lachemann and Mike Scioscia). He also had two stints as interim manager for the Angels.

After the 2005 season, Maddon moved on to become manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. In nine seasons there he won 90 or more games five times, with a World Series trip in 2008. The Cubs made the postseason in each of Maddon’s first four seasons as manager, with the obvious highlight ending the franchise’s lengthy championship drought in 2016.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler is apparently totally safe, at least for now, but he may need to make a splash with a managerial hire. There will be plenty of competition for Maddon’s services, but bringing him back to the Angels would be just the kind of big splash to get firmly in the good graces of owner Arte Moreno.

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