Angels Name Bill Haselman As New Third Base Coach
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels announced yet another new addition to manager Phil Nevin’s coaching staff after Bill Haselman was penciled in as the team’s new third base coach ahead of the 2023 season.

Haselman returned to the Angels organization in 2022 as the catching coach after spending the previous eight seasons (2014-21) in various roles with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2012, he joined the Angels organization as manager of Single-A Inland Empire just two years after he rejoined the coaching ranks following a three-year stint away from professional baseball.

Haselman is well known around Major League Baseball after 13 seasons as a player, spending time with the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and one season with the Detroit Tigers. He began his coaching career in 2004 with the Red Sox as the club’s interim first-base coach and stayed on through the 2006 season in multiple roles.

After stops with the Mariners, Angels, and Dodgers Minor League systems, Haselman rejoined the Major League staff under Joe Maddon. He was given an opportunity to manage a few games while Nevin served a suspension, and will officially hold the important title of third base coach.

The Angels coaching staff has been in a state of flux recently as the team also welcomed new hitting coach Marcus Thames to the club. The change hasn’t been easy for Nevin, but he shed light on the decisions he’s had to make.

“Difficult ones, really were. There were some friends I had to have difficult conversations with,” Nevin said. “At the end of the day I just felt for us to be at the top of our game for our hitters, for our pitchers, for our defensive players, our game planning, everything going forward, I was given the opportunity to do this.”

The Angels have a few new players joining the clubhouse in Tyler Anderson, Hunter Renfroe, and Gio Urshela, but Thames will be a fresh voice to the offense and brings his own philosophy. After a tough run of seasons, the Angels brass felt it was time for some movement within their ranks.

“You always have had those thoughts in your head, people that you want with you and that didn’t really change,” Nevin said. “There was a lot of guys that impressed me while they were there. But there’s people that I’ve worked with before that I just know that, I know how they run the room. I know how the players respond to them.

“And it was just a comfort level, for one, but I know how talented they are as well. Being around Marcus for the four years I was in New York, certainly we were close friends. But I’ll give you a line that I’ll use. I’m not here to make friends. I’m not here to keep friends. I’m here to help my players become better and win baseball games.

“And that’s really what went into my decision-making. As difficult as those conversations were, I know we’re better right now because of the guys we brought in.”

Marcus Thames shares his philosophy with Angels

Nevin and Thames have a history from their time with the New York Yankees, and with the success of that team out East, Thames brings a fresh approach that is centered around the strengths and weaknesses of each hitter.

The Angels were near the bottom in Major League Baseball in many offensive categories last season, mainly against fastballs, an area which Thames believes he can improve.

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani were about the only consistency the Angels had this past season, which is much to do with their third-place finish and a collective offense that ranked worse than the 60-win Oakland Athletics. Against the heat, they ranked fourth-worst in all of baseball according to Fangraphs.

Nevin’s club posted a -0.33 wFB/C, which calculates the run value per 100 fastballs seen, and Thames believes he has an approach that can fix that.

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