Coming into last season, the Los Angeles Angels thought they had it made. They went out on signed the two best players on the market and had a relatively young up and coming team rounding into shape.
Things never went according to plan and many people within the league were waiting for the Angels to make a decision on who to keep and who to let go between the two figure heads of the team, manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto.
Well, the Angels made the decision to keep both and the coaches on the chopping block were bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard, who replaced Mickey Hatcher last season. The Angels’ main problem was pitching last season so it’s a head scratcher as to why the men to take the fall are the hitting and bench coaches.
These coaches weren’t the people responsible for trading for Tommy Hanson and signing Joe Blanton when there were still quality pitchers on the market. These coaches weren’t the people responsible for signing Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett for the bullpen when they were both coming off injuries and there were other bullpen options available on the market. These coaches went to work and did their job, yet were the ones let go.
So it stands, Don Baylor was signed to become the new hitting coach and will have the task to try and turn the two mega failures in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton around. Two players that the two coaches fired had nothing to do with their signings of course.
It is time to hold the people at fault accountable for the failures of this team, but owner Arte Moreno has decided against any action.
DiPoto had the chance to do something about the bullpen which also hampered them the previous season and he went on to make some questionable moves: signing Ryan Madson who was coming off Tommy John surgery and hadn’t pitched in a season, trading for Tommy Hanson who the Braves gave up on and signing lefty Sean Burnett who was coming off a strong season for the Washington Nationals but for some reason the Nationals didn’t extend a contract offer to him.
Needing more starting pitching after not going after Zack Greinke, who left for the Los Angeles Dodgers, trading Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals and letting Dan Haren walk to the Nationals, DiPoto just seemed to stand pat and go after an over the hill Joe Blanton and an inconsistent Jason Vargas in a trade with the Seattle Mariners for Kendrys Morales.
The Angels went on to begin the season once again in a deep slump with their offense and after losing ace Jered Weaver early to an injury, had no pitching whatsoever to help them get through the rough patch. Their bullpen then went on to implode as Ryan Madson never pitched for the Angels and was released later in the season and Sean Burnett had season ending shoulder surgery. Blanton went on to lose his job after failing to win a game for a very long stretch and Vargas missed close to two months with a blood clot under his armpit.
Scioscia may have lost some influence in the locker room after being at the helm for such a long time, but still is a great manager who has to manage a team he is not used to, bringing in sluggers instead of his first to third type of guys, and without any pitching help. DiPoto on the other hand has not been allowed much to take the team in the direction he thinks it should go but when he has had the chance to make some moves he has come up short more times than he has succeeded.
It’s time to get back to basics and go back to the formula that Scioscia installed and brought them all that success. Only time will tell if going with both men will find the Angels some success. If not, Moreno might finally make a decision to let them walk.
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