by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) / Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
ANAHEIM, CA – Though the MLB offseason is still a few weeks away, the Los Angeles Angels couldn’t wait to make the first big splash of the fall hiring Joe Maddon as their new manager.
Maddon is scheduled to have a press conference on Thursday at Angel Stadium to officially welcome him to the Angels.
Maddon became available after his contract with the Chicago Cubs, the team he helped lead to a World Series championship in 2016, was not renewed.
For the Angels, Maddon was not only the best managerial candidate available, but a fitting one as well. He spent 31 years with the Angels organization in a variety of roles, most notably a bench coach under Mike Scoscia on the 2002 World Series championship team.
The fact is Maddon is a winner, something the Angels desperately need. This is a franchise that has been stuck in mediocrity for the better part of 11 years.
Maddon isn’t going to fix everything with the Angels, but he clearly brings a successful pedigree with him. He’s a three-time winner of the Manager of the Year Award. He led a small market franchise with a smaller payroll with the Rays in Tampa Bay to their only AL championship.
Perhaps his greatest achievement was ending the 108-year drought in Chicago managing the Cubs to a championship.
What makes Maddon special is his attitude, swagger, and ability to connect with his players like few managers can. He has a humorous side that’s seen a plethora of hilarious sound bytes through the years.
He has the uncanny ability to keep his clubhouse loose yet focused finding quirky ways to forge chemistry amongst the players.
Maddon is the type of manager that you love to play for and will run through a brick wall for every night. His positive demeanor is surpassed only by his honesty and quick wit.
He’s inheriting an Angels team that is flawed but has the best player in the game in Mike Trout and another dynamic player in Shohei Ohtani. There is some promising young talent on this squad due to the development of the farm system thanks to GM Billy Eppler of the course of the past few years.
There’s still much work to be done for Eppler, but hiring Maddon was a great start. For Maddon, he returns to where it all started to resurrect a struggling franchise near-and-dear to him that not only needs a culture change, but a blueprint to get back on a winning track. The key will be allowing Maddon to manage and have direct communication with Eppler, and no interference from ownership. If that happens, the Angels could be well on their way to competing for a World Series sooner than much later.