The Los Angeles Angels have fired manager Brad Ausmus.
Ausmus got only one season at the helm of the Angels and went 72-90. It was a tough year in a number of ways for the Angels, with several key injuries, some severe roster shortcomings, primarily in the starting pitching department and, most notably, due to the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
He’s likely not being fired for the bad record, though. Ausmus is likely being fired because there’s an attractive managerial candidate now available in Joe Maddon, who managed his last game for the Cubs yesterday.
The same Joe Maddon who was a minor league player in the Angels system, scouted, coached and managed in the Angels system for many years and who coached on the big club in Anaheim for over a decade. Word is that Angels owner Arte Moreno looks upon Maddon fondly. One wonders if it’s not almost a nostalgia thing. Either way, it’s hard to conclude that Ausmus would be let go so suddenly if Maddon was going to continue on in Chicago.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Maddon will come work for the Angels. Maybe there’s some wink-wink agreement already? Maybe it’s just a hope on Moreno’s part that he can hire Maddon? Maybe, actually, Maddon has nothing to do with it and the club just really didn’t like the cut of Ausmus’ handsome jib? We’ll no doubt find out in the coming days.
If he does take the Angels job, it’ll be the second time in five years that a first-year manager was fired by a club because Joe Maddon became available. Rick Renteria, you’ll recall, was let go by the Cubs following the 2014 season, not because he had done so bad a job, but because Maddon became a free agent after finding a way out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cubs coveted him.
Will Ausmus land on his feet like Renteria did with the White Sox? Hard to say, as he’s now been fired twice in three years and that’s never a good thing to have on one’s resume. Still, part of me thinks he’s more likely to find work now, with the impression that he was cast overboard because of Maddon, than if he had stayed with the Angels and led them to additional 90+ loss seasons and was officially considered damaged managerial goods.
Whatever this all adds up to, it’s worth remembering something: the Angels rotation, in words of Rotoworld’s Chris Crawford, is made out of rotten hot dog water. So good luck Joe Maddon or whoever else lands that gig.