Ex-Cubs Manager Joe Maddon Hired by Angels on Reported 3-Year Contract

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 16, 2019

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) waves from the dugout prior to a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)
Scott Kane/Associated Press

For the third consecutive year, the Los Angeles Angels will open the year with a different manager.

On Wednesday, the Angels announced they reached a deal with Joe Maddon to become the manager.

"We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans," general manager Billy Eppler said, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series Championship."

When Mike Scioscia's 19-year run with the Angels ended following the 2018 season, Brad Ausmus took over the team. 

Things never came together under Ausmus, due in no small part to injuries. Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols all missed at least 28 games. The starting rotation didn't have one pitcher reach 20 starts. Trevor Cahill was the only hurler to throw more than 100 innings. 

Beyond the injuries, the Angels also endured a tragedy in 2019 when Tyler Skaggs died on July 1 at age 27 when he was found unresponsive in the team's hotel before a game against the Texas Rangers

Los Angeles finished the year in fourth place in the American League West at 72-90, its worst single-season record since 1999 (70-92). Ausmus was fired on Sept. 30, one day after the end of the regular season.

Despite their record last season and missing the playoffs in each of the last five years, the Angels offer an attractive managerial job.

They play in a great location with an owner, Artie Moreno, who has spent at least $150 million on payroll in five of the past six years, and 28-year-old Mike Trout remains the sport's best player and is under contract through 2030. 

Maddon returns to the organization that gave him his start as a manager. He had two brief interim stints with the Angels in 1996 and 1999, going 27-24 in 51 games. The Pennsylvania native also worked as a coach for the team from 1994 to 2005. 

For the past five seasons, Maddon managed the Chicago Cubs. He led them to four postseason appearances in each of his first four years, including three straight trips to the NLCS and the 2016 World Series title.

The Angels will hope Maddon has the same type of impact on them. They are facing an uphill climb, as they play in the same division as the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics, two franchises that combined to win 204 games in 2019. 

It won't be easy, but Maddon is the first big domino to fall in an offseason that should see them do everything possible to get back in the playoff mix in 2020.    

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