As expected, The Los Angeles Angels announced yesterday that Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto will be back next year. Not everyone will be, however: the team has relieved bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard of their duties.
On the one hand: kind of surprising given what we’ve heard about tension between Scioscia and Dipoto and given how poor the results have been. On the other hand (a) owner Arte Moreno loves Scioscia; and (b) Moreno, by all accounts, spearheaded the moves to sign Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, so perhaps he realizes that Dipoto is not a reasonable fall guy for the lack of success.
But there are two fall guys here in Picciolo and Eppard. Unless Kevin Towers has some insight into their alleged shortcomings like he did on Charles Nagy, we’ll likely never know why they fell. As is customary with coach dismissals.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.