The Los Angeles Angels are in a state of transition when it comes to their coaching staff with old faces leaving and new ones coming in.
Despite retaining manager Mike Scioscia, the Angels have cleaned house as they fired bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard so far this offseason. The moves come as a surprise as both men were far from the problem of this disappointing team but nonetheless were let go.
The Angels were in the market for new coaches and they first went out and brought back former California Angel outfielder and Rockies manager Don Baylor to take over Eppard’s duties as hitting coach. They then went ahead and promoted third base coach Dino Ebel to bench coach to take over Picciolo’s duties. Now, they welcome back former Angels shortstop Gary DiSarcina to take over third base coach duties from Ebel.
Although not a former Angel, the team brought in the brother of former Angel David Eckstein, Rick Eckstein to help Baylor as assistant hitting coach. The new strategy of the Angels it seems is to infuse the team with the Angels culture of the past and bring some sort of pride to the current team that has seem lost the past few years.
Baylor spent six season with the Angels as a player in the 1970s and 1980s, where he won the AL MVP Award in 1979 when he finished the year with a .296 batting average, 36 home runs and a league-leading 139 RBIs. DiSarcina spent 12 seasons as the Angels’ shortstop from 1989 to 2000 and played one season under Scioscia in 2000.
DiSarcina was a career .258 hitter but was known for his strong defense as he finished his career with a .976 fielding percentage. He spent four seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization as a manger of their Class-A affiliate and most recently managed their Triple-A affiliate in Pawntucket, R.I.
Eckstein was fired as the Washington Nationals hitting coach in the middle of the 2013 season as he took the fall for the National’s awful first half offensively. Although, during his four years there, the Nationals reached the postseason for the first time in their non-Expos history.
The first task at hand for Baylor and Eckstein will be to turn around the careers of high-salaried Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton as they have bot been a huge disappointment at the plate after signing their mega contracts with the team.
They will then try to continue to grow the outstanding skills of Mike Trout and bring along the bats of Mark Trumbo and Peter Borjous if they aren’t traded this offseason.
DiSarcina should be a good influence in the clubhouse as he has prior managerial experience and most of all, knows what it means to be an Angel and how to take pride in that.
Will it work? It remains to be seen but it may be the right direction for this sinking ship.
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