Angels keep Phil Nevin as manager for 2023 on one-year deal

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Los Angeles Angels have hired Phil Nevin as manager for the 2023 season, removing his interim title and giving him a one-year contract Wednesday before the final game of the regular season.

The Angels will miss the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Nevin was promoted from third-base coach when Joe Maddon was fired in June with the Angels mired in what became a club-record 14-game losing streak.

?It certainly means a lot,” Nevin said. “It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned these things happening, but I know I’ve been given a heck of an opportunity with some special people that I’ve created relationships with now for the last six, seven months.”

Nevin learned he got the job when general manager Perry Minasian reached out Tuesday night.

“Called into the principal’s office, and I’ve been on the wrong end of those a lot,” Nevin said. “As he’s telling me, he’s starting to build up, I could sense where he was going.”

Now, Nevin’s challenge will be to help guide the Angels back to winning – and his players seem to believe he can be the one to do it.

“It’s been great. The guys in this clubhouse trust and rely on him,” slugger Mike Trout said after hitting his 40th home run in a 3-2 season-ending loss to the Athletics. “Nev knows the game. He’s worked hard to get here, and it means a lot to him.”

Los Angeles went 46-60 under the 51-year-old Nevin. He made headlines in June when he was suspended for 10 games following a brawl against the Mariners in Anaheim when opener Andrew Wantz intentionally threw at Jesse Winker.

Superstar two-way player Shohei Ohtani credited Nevin for keeping the club going.

“I felt like he was kind of thrown into the situation,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I felt like he did as well as he could, got us as many wins as possible. I felt like players were with him and gave him all their best.”

Nevin became emotional and teary before the final game against the Athletics, pausing in the dugout before expressing his appreciation for the opportunity.

“There’s a lot of special people involved in this,” Nevin said.

Keeping Nevin provides some needed stability for Los Angeles heading into an offseason of uncertainty with owner Arte Moreno planning to sell the team.

“It’s a great day,” rookie catcher and top prospect Logan O'Hoppe said shortly before first pitch.

Ohtani can become a free agent after the 2023 season, potentially leaving the franchise little time left to capitalize on having him and three-time AL MVP Mike Trout on the roster.

“From where we’ve come, I feel like where we’re at right now, you can see the light, if you will,” Nevin said. “A lot of times, when you’re first time given these opportunities, you’re walking into a place – it’s rebuilding, expectations are low for a while, but ours aren’t. I got some of the best players in the world. I know there’s going to be a good support group around them.”

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.