The 2021 Los Angeles Angels have started spring training and have a 7-5 record.
The arrival of Joe Maddon before the start of the 2020 season should have been seen as a significant move for this franchise. COVID-19 and the wacky season that was 2020 overshadowed his arrival but it is important to examine this move especially since the 2021 Los Angeles Angels are looking for a playoff berth this season. Maddon could be the guy that helps them get there.
Maddon Is the Third 2021 Los Angeles Angels Manager in Three Years
From Mike Scioscia to Brad Ausmus and then Maddon is not a great look to fans nor great for team culture when this team had three different managers in three years.
Mike Scioscia had been the Angels bench boss from 2000-2018 and left a huge mark on this franchise winning its only World Series in 2002. Brad Ausmus signed on in 2019 but lasted only one season, despite signing for three.
Maddon signed a three-year deal last season but didn’t have much chance to make his presence felt with the canceling of spring training due to COVID-19 and the shortened 2020 season. Maddon can now make a stamp on this team as he has had a year plus to oversee it.
Maddon’s Angels Roots Run Deep
Maddon was drafted but never made it beyond Class A Ball for the Angels and then signed on to be a coach in 1979. It wasn’t until 1994, though, that he reached the Majors where he then worked under several managers before Mike Scioscia made him a bench coach in 1999. They won the World Series together in 2002 and by 2005 Maddon left to be the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Maddon had considerable success with the Rays, guiding them to their first-ever postseason berth in 2008, amassing two American League East Division crowns, and the franchise’s first-ever World Series appearance in 2008. He had a .517 winning percentage in the regular season.
Maddon would have even greater success with the Chicago Cubs in four seasons winning the first World Series in 108 years for the Cubs as their manager in 2016.
In speaking with Overtime Heroics Baseball Department Head Ken Allison, he offered some great insight into the psyche of Maddon and his style of managing.
He noted that Maddon does well with a core of young players, as he was able to win with the Cubs and the likes of Kris Bryant and Wilson Contreras, but he had a tougher time handling the team when players start to mature and become veterans.
Maddon’s tenure could and will be different with a 2021 Los Angeles Angels team that has a lot of veteran players. Allison also suggested that beyond the three years he has been given with the Angels, Maddon’s message and methodology could wear thin and that may force the Angels to look elsewhere.
Maddon Players Have Started to Filter In
Before the start of spring training, Dexter Fowler was acquired from the St Louis Cardinals reuniting him with Maddon. They won the World Series together with the Cubs in 2016.
Many an Angels fan had a good laugh, but Fowler has made the playoffs with the Cardinals, the Cubs, and the Colorado Rockies in the past. The Angels have not qualified for the postseason since 2014. The Cardinals have taken on $12.75 million of Fowler’s salary this year.
Alex Cobb is another off-season acquisition that played for Maddon back in 2013-14 with the Rays. He was 2.82 ERA and 1.145 WHIP to go along with a 3.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those two seasons.
Cobb is not a world-beater by any means at this point and he is several years and injuries removed from these numbers. He could help eat up innings for the 2021 Los Angeles Angels.
Jose Quintana came in earlier this year on a one-year, $8 million deal. Angels manager Joe Maddon and Quintana have a history during their time with the Cubs from 2017 to 2020.
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