In his meeting with the press following the conclusion of the 2021 regular season, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian signaled that there may be some changes to the team’s coaching staff. However, he did not announce any of those changes, saying that they would be made after team-wide evaluations.
Well, the first domino has fallen, as it was reported that Jose Molina is being let go as the team’s catching coach. Molina was hired by the Angels in 2015 to be the Minor League catching coordinator, then was promoted to the big league catching coach in 2019.
Molina admitted that the decision was not a mutual parting of ways, as coaching departures are usually framed, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“They went that direction,” Molina told The Athletic. “It’s not my decision.”
The Angels declined to comment on this decision, but it was hinted that there may be more moves to come, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Hear Angels catching coach José Molina won’t be returning. Angels may have other staff changes as well.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 15, 2021
Molina has not only spent the last six years in the Angels organization, he was either the team’s starting or back-up catcher for six and a half seasons, from 2001 to 2007. He won the World Series in Anaheim in 2002.
Over his successful 15-year career, Molina built a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers of all time. While his offense left much to be desired — a below 100 OPS+ for all but three years — his ability to frame pitches, catch base stealers, and block wild pitches was admired throughout the league.
Because the Angels declined to comment, it’s unclear exactly what direction they want to go with this position. If the catching coach is simply meant to teach the defensive side of the position, there is no one better than Molina.
However, if they want the catching coach to also work with the players on their bats alongside the hitting coaches, then perhaps it’s better to find someone with a slightly more balanced skillset.
Minasian: No one is untouchable
When discussing potential trades that could come across the Angels this offseason, Minasian said that absolutely nothing is off the table. This even includes top prospects like Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, who are unlikely to be dealt but could be if it meant an absolute superstar was coming to Anaheim.