Posted on October 21, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
After 19 years of Mike Scioscia as their manager, the Los Angeles Angels have found his replacement. The Angels announced Sunday that Brad Ausmus has been hired as the team’s new manager. Ausmus will be formally introduced at a press conference on Monday. The Angels reportedly interviewed nine other candidates before choosing Ausmus.
Scioscia, as had been rumored, stepped down as Angels manager at the end of the 2018 season. He accomplished a great deal with the Angels, including a World Series title in 2002. However, the team made the postseason just once during the last nine years of his tenure. It was time for both sides to move on from one another. In Ausmus, the Angels are getting a manager who is 10 years younger than Scioscia. They are also getting someone with managerial experience and someone who embraces the modern analytics of baseball.
“Brad’s balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills, as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision-making, led us to him,” Angels GM Billy Eppler said in a statement. “We believe his knowledge, drive, and growth mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization.”
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Ausmus began his managerial career with the Detroit Tigers in 2014. The Tigers won the AL Central in his first season at the helm, despite going winless in the playoffs. However, he failed to get the Tigers back to the postseason. Detroit finished last in the AL Central in 2015 and came up a few games short of a wild-card spot during a bounce-back season in 2016. After another disappointing season in 2017, the Tigers did not welcome Ausmus back for the 2018 season.
Over his four seasons with the Tigers, Ausmus’ managerial record is 18 games under .500. After being let go in Detroit, the Angels hired Ausmus as a special assistant to the GM last winter. Over the past year, Ausmus was involved in scouting and player evaluations. That familiarity with both Eppler and the team no doubt helped Ausmus during the interview process. It should also make for a smooth transition into the manager’s job.
Ausmus will surely have high expectations as the new Angels manager. He will be expected to immediately turn the Halos into a team that can compete for a playoff spot. The Angels got off to a promising start in 2018, only to have their season spoiled by injuries. An abundance of injuries, specifically to the pitching staff, has been a recurring theme for the Angels in recent years.
The Angels have cornerstone players like Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Andrelton Simmons to anchor their lineup. However, Ausmus will have to figure out the right side of the infield while also managing the DH spot between the aging Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, who will only be available as a hitter in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
As the first new manager the Angels have had in nearly 20 years, there will be a fair amount of pressure on Ausmus. However, he boasts both experience and a different perspective from Scioscia. On the surface, Ausmus appears to be a great fit for the Angels and a manager who can help them get back to the postseason.