The Los Angeles Angels and general manager Perry Minasian opted to fire manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday and name third base coach Phil Nevin as interim manager for the remainder of the season.
After a wildly hot start that put them in the top spot in the American League West, the Angels dealt with numerous injuries, poor bullpen production, and a lack of offense that has resulted in the 12-game losing streak which ultimately led to the firing of Maddon.
The firing came as a surprise, even to Maddon, who didn’t think this type of move was needed with over 100-games left in the regular season.
Maddon was in the last year of his contract and the Angels had no current plans to lay out an extension. Minasian believed his decision, although difficult, was needed to change the direction of the team, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“Tough day,” Minasian said during an emotional pregame news conference. “This is not something I thought was going to happen three weeks ago, but I felt like it was in the best interest of the club going forward to make a change.”
Not all of the blame should be placed on Maddon, but with multiple issues and disappointing results, the Angeles had to head in a different direction:
“It was time for a new voice,” Minasian said. “We have not played well these last two weeks. There hasn’t been one phase of the game where we’ve been good. We’ve struggled on the mound, at the plate, on defense, on the basepaths. One thing I will say is the effort has been great.”
The Angels haven’t had consistency in more than a decade. They haven’t made the postseason since 2011, but a month and a half of elite production this season showed glimpses of what this roster could really do. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to sustain it:
“We had a really good stretch in April, half of May, but these last three weeks to be honest, we haven’t played the brand of baseball we played early,” Minasian said. “I’m not putting that on Joe. It’s not his fault. It’s on all of us.”
L.A. is currently four games under .500 and has fallen to 3.5-games back of a Wild Card spot in the AL.
Angels ‘Haven’t Played Well’ In Any Phase Of The Game
Maddon underperformed in his first two seasons with L.A. and this year saw a hot start take a full turn. The Angels at one point were 11 games over .500 and spent April and much of May in first place in the American League West.
But injuries to Taylor Ward, Anthony Rendon, and both big league catchers, Max Stassi and Kurt Suzuki, exacerbated the downward spiral to something that has taken over the team’s current standing.
After multiple failed team meetings to right the ship, Minasian got approval from Angels owner Arte Moreno to relieve Maddon of his duties, amid his club’s struggles and lack of competitiveness in every phase of the game.