Angels’ Joe Maddon fired: manager in the middle of 12-game losing streak says he was surprised by the decision

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Angels' Joe Maddon fired: manager in the middle of 12-game losing streak says he was surprised by the decision

The Los Angeles Angels, mired in the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history, made a coaching change Tuesday afternoon. The team announced that Joe Maddon has been relieved of his duties and third base coach Phil Nevin will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the 2022 season. Maddon’s firing follows the Angels’ twelfth straight loss on Monday night, a 1-0 home loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Managing Director Perry Minasian told reporters that he went to Maddon’s home on Tuesday morning to inform him of the decision. Minasian characterized Maddon’s fire as “[n]Nothing I thought would happen three weeks ago,” suggesting the ongoing losing streak has negatively impacted Maddon’s job status. Additionally, Minasian confirmed that team owner Arte Moreno was on board with the decision to leave Maddon.

This is the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history and the second-longest losing streak overall, behind a 13-game losing streak that spanned the final 12 games in 1988 and the first game in 1989. They were still the California Angels back then.

The Angels have been standing since their start on November 21st. at 6-18 and FanGraphs put their postseason odds at 29.9 percent. On May 15, they were still at 81.4 percent. The Halos are 1 1/2 games behind the sixth and final American League wildcard, despite two teams ahead of them overall and three teams within 1 1/2 games behind them.

The 12-game losing streak was a Murphy’s Law losing streak, where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward are injured meaning the lineup behind Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani is extremely thin and the rotation has returned to earth after an encouraging April and first half of May. The bullpen also uncovered several leads.

Runs scored per game

5.06

3.54

4.41 (12th in MLB)

Runs allowed per game

3.59

4.67

4.23 (16th in MLB)

let the differential run

plus-47

minus-37

plus-10 (15th in MLB)

The Angels are posting a franchise-record $188.6 million payroll this season, and with Trout and Rendon signed for big bucks long-term and Ohtani set to become a free agent after next season, the club has no choice but to move forward and hoping to make something of a run at a postseason spot this year. The organization’s sense of urgency is evident in the decision to replace Maddon.

Hired ahead of the 2020 pandemic season, Maddon went 130-148 (.467) in parts of three seasons in his third stint as Angels manager. In 1996 (8-14) and 1999 (19-10) he led the team on an interim basis. Maddon played in the Angels’ farm system before beginning his coaching career with the organization in the 1980s and gradually climbing the corporate ladder.

Maddon is the second manager to be fired this season and the second manager to be fired in the last week – The Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi last Friday. In their first series under interim manager Rob Thomson, the Phillies defeated Maddon’s Angels last weekend. Girardi and Maddon are the first managers to be fired midseason since the St. Louis Cardinals fired Mike Matheny in July 2018.

Much like the Phillies and Girardi, the Angels gave Maddon a star-loaded but top-heavy roster that had little depth. Both teams have obvious roster-building problems, but like Girardi, Maddon didn’t seem to be doing the best he could with the staff at his disposal. His lineup and bullpen decisions left a lot to be desired, especially lately during the 12-game losing streak.

The Angels did not make the postseason under Maddon, and the team has made the postseason only once in Trout’s 10 full seasons. That was a three-game win over the Kansas City Royals at ALDS 2014. The Angels have not won a postseason round (or even a postseason game) since 2009.

Before returning to the Angels in 2020, Maddon enjoyed great success as a manager with the Tampa Bay Rays (2006–2014) and the Chicago Cubs (2015–19). He led the Rays to their first-ever American League pennant in 2008 and, of course, he led the Cubs to their first World Series championship in 108 years in 2016.

Maddon spoke to Ken Rosenthal shortly after learning of his resignation and when asked if he was surprised by the decision said:

“A little bit. A lot actually. They always rely on those in charge to read the tea leaves correctly. They didn’t do it this time. They didn’t even have to ask me. You can ask any of the players or coaches… They’re the ones who really know.

“Perry (Minasian) was in a difficult position. I understand that. Let me just put it this way. I would really trust the feelings of the coaches and the players.”

Maddon also said he wanted to continue administration. “Of course I want to make it,” he said to Rosenthal. “I’m really good at it.”

Nevin, 51, was in his first season as the Angels’ third base coach, having spent the previous four seasons with the New York Yankees in the same role. This is his first MLB managerial job, although he has extensive management experience at the Triple-A level and has competed for several major league managerial positions in recent years.

Maddon, 68, was in the last guaranteed year of his contract, which included a club option for 2023. With a career record of 1,382-1,216 (.532), Maddon is 31st all-time in managerial wins and 31st all-time in managed games.

The Angels will play the second game of their four-game home series against the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

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