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Mike Scioscia's credentials with the Angels are undeniable. He holds franchise records for all-time wins (1,168) and games managed (2,144). He is also the first manager to reach the playoffs in six of his first 10 seasons with a team. In addition, Scioscia is a two-time A.L. Manager of the Year award winner (2002 and 2009). He also led the team to a World Series crown in 2002.
But in the cutthroat world of professional sports, the "What have you done for me lately?" question is ever-present.
A second disappointing start (in as many years) has some fans in Southern California wondering whether Scioscia's stay as manager has run its course.
The Angels entered the season fresh off their five-year, $125 million free-agency signing of Josh Hamilton. The slugger's contract expanded the team's 2013 payroll to $127 million, seventh-highest in all of baseball.
The Hamilton acquisition brought together three of the best and most feared hitters in the game, creating a star-studded trio that could rival any in history. The combination of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton account for 15 All-Star selections, 10 Silver Slugger Awards, four MVP awards, two Rookie of the Year honors and two batting titles.
But with talent comes high expectations.
And the Angels have certainly not lived up to them. The team has stumbled out of the gate in 2013 with a disappointing 15-25 record and find themselves 11 games behind the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West standings. To make matters worse, the franchise is currently experiencing a three-year playoff drought (its longest dry spell since 2001).
According to ESPN projections, the Angels have just a 5 percent chance to make the playoffs this season—only the Houston Astros are more of a long shot in the American League.
Although a large part of the blame for the slow start goes to the players (and deservedly so), Mike Scioscia also deserves some heat.
The longest tenured manager in baseball appears to be having trouble lighting a fire under his slumping team. He has also shown poor judgment of late by giving up on ex-Angel Vernon Wells (who couldn't crack Scioscia's lineup in Anaheim). Wells is currently experiencing a late-career resurgence in New York with 10 home runs and 23 RBI.
If the Angels don't make up serious ground on the Rangers by the All-Star break in July, look for owner Arte Moreno to replace Mike Scioscia at the helm.