Posted on August 20, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2016 season has been a trying one for the Los Angeles Angels, but despite the team’s struggles and the possibility of a last place finish in the AL West, it does not seem as if there will be a change of manager this offseason. Both Angels GM Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno made comments Friday that suggest manager Mike Scioscia’s job is safe and that he will be with the Angels in 2017.
“I have no reason to believe Mike wouldn’t be here managing our team next season,” Eppler said Friday. “I think he’s done a great job. He’s dealt with multiple plates of adversity and handled them with energy and passion. He’s kept guys optimistic, driven, and I think that’s the mark of a good leader.”
The Angels season has been defined by injuries, particularly to the pitching staff, which has made it difficult for the team to gain much traction. C.J. Wilson has been out all season with a shoulder injury, while Garrett Richards made just six starts and Andrew Heaney one start before both succumbed to elbow injuries. Nick Tropeano is also out for the remainder of the season due to Tommy John surgery, while Tyler Skaggs has made just five starts this season after rehabbing from Tommy John. Among position players, Geovany Soto and C.J. Cron have both missed significant time this season.
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“I go back to something (former NFL coach) Ernie Zampese told me when I was 11 years old,” Eppler said about the team’s lengthy injured list. “He always said, ‘You have to have the horses to pull the cart.’ So if your horses get injured or can’t pull the cart for a little while … you can only do so much.”
Moreno also referenced the team’s lack of health this season, saying “it’s pretty hard to win when you have no pitching.” The Angels owner added that he’d like to speak with both Eppler and Scioscia about the subject before saying anything definitive, but that he’s expecting Scioscia to be the manager next season. “My belief is with a few moves, we can be highly competitive,” Moreno added, suggesting that the Angels can bounce back in 2017 if they can stay healthy.
Scioscia is currently the longest tenured manager in the big leagues, holding that job with the Angels since 2000. In that time, Los Angeles has won six division titles and the 2002 World Series, the only world championship in franchise history. He has a .541 winning percentage and has won Manager of the Year twice, doing so in 2002 and 2009.
Scioscia has two years remaining on his contract, and the comments from Eppler and Moreno suggest he will be able to finish that contract. Considering his track record and the number of injuries that have plagued the Angels in 2016, there’s no reason for Scioscia not to return in 2017.