As the Los Angeles Angels were in the midst of a historically bad stretch, they made the decision to fire Joe Maddon and name Phil Nevin the interim manager.
Although the Angels never recovered and ended up missing the postseason for an eighth consecutive year, Nevin impressed the organization, had the interim tag removed and signed a one-year contract extension for the 2023 season.
As Nevin prepares for his first full year with the team, he has made an effort to expand on the relationships he created with his players this past season.
“I’ve gone around and I met with all of our players and tried to reach out to each one,” Nevin recently said. “I was in the same town, was in Chicago for a football game a few weeks back. Took Max (Stassi) out to dinner. He’s in a great place right now.
“Those relationships we created those last three months of the season that I thought were invaluable to our group. Want to keep those going, whether it’s through text messages getting some face-to-face time with guys. And I think it’s important as you guys got to know me over the last few months.
“For me that’s huge. That clubhouse and that group and the relationships we’ve all created. I want them to keep being strong.
“I know the players have text chains and things like that. And we do as coaches. And I do with my players. And that’s just the way I think that — I just think it’s something that makes us stronger.”
Angels hitting coach Marcus Thames took a similar approach to Nevin when he joined the organization earlier this offseason, putting an emphasis on getting to know the roster better.
Phil Nevin believes AL West is one of best divisions in MLB
The Angels have been one of the most active teams this offseason, signing All-Star starting pitcher Tyler Anderson, reliever Carlos Estévez and infielder Brandon Drury, while acquiring slugging outfielder Hunter Renfroe and infielder Gio Urshela in trades.
While all of those moves should help the Angels become a better team in 2023, many of the other American League West clubs have improved as well.
“I mean, there’s no doubt. I think our division is one of the better in baseball. It’s getting better each day,” Nevin said. “I’m excited to go to compete against Boch a little bit, somebody that I’ve obviously been around quite a bit in my life.
“Our division is good. And we only have to play each other 12 times this year instead of 18 or 19, whatever it is. I can’t worry about those things.
“We’re not trying to compete — if somebody gets somebody, do we grab somebody else. We’ve just got to try to make us better and what’s going to help us compete towards the end of the season and put us in the position to be one of the last teams standing.
“What happens in our division, they’re able to do certain things, we’re able to do things.”
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