The Angels, who are in a 12-game losing streak that cut their record to 27-29, are the second playoff hope to dismiss a seasoned coach in the past week; Join the Philadelphia Phillies, who ditched Joe Girardi on Friday and proceeded to sweep the Angels at Citizens Bank Park over the weekend.
The final game of that streak was particularly devastating for Madon’s side, who led 5-0 in the fifth and 6-2 in the eighth before Velez scrambled for a home-and-back win. The Red Sox then closed it 1-0 on Monday.
Less than a month ago, such a move was almost out of the question. Maddon and the Starry Angels had over 0.500 matches and shipped around October. Shohei Ohtani was shooting well and hitting a lot. Mike Trout was in good health. The staff was the best pitched. The Angels have put the most money in franchise history into this list, and they seem to be worth it.
But then injuries hit. Fixed player David Fletcher required hip surgery. Upstart Taylor Ward (hamstring) and former superstar Anthony Rendon (wrist) also made it to the injured list.
Trout, future Hall of Fame and center of excellence, slipped into the longest streak-free streak of his career, which finished at 0-for-26 when he picked Monday. Other teams have had injuries too, but few see things fall apart as they have with the Angels in the past two weeks. Coming into Tuesday’s games, they were 8 games behind the Houston Astros in the MLS Western League — but they’re still just one half off the top-tier third in the league.
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The Angels hired Maddon ahead of the 2020 season amid frustration about their talented roster not always being able to make a playoff push. Maddon has proven he can win in a variety of situations, having led the Tampa Bay Rays to AL Banners in 2008, and the embattled Chicago Cubs for the world title in 2016.
But his magic didn’t translate at Anaheim, where he finished 152-172 and scored under 0.500 records in both full seasons. His teams declined due to a lack of reliable pitches and were frustrated by their lack of baseball in late summer.
Madonne, 68, also faced questions about his own hiring decisions. It was Madon, along with then-general manager Billy Ebler, who brought shooting coach Mickey Calaway to the Angels after the 2019 season. MLB banned Callaway after it investigated and found several complaints of obscene behavior and sexual harassment credible.
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Madon said he was surprised to hear the accusations against Callaway, calling it a “hard topic to talk about.” Eppler was fired from the GM position after the 2020 season and is now the general manager of the New York Mets.
Madon’s dismissal is an awkward chapter in youth for General Manager Berry Minassian, who was hired by the Angels in November 2020. Minassian is as friendly and patient as you can find – caution, not reaction. That he’s decided to fire Madon now – long before the All-Star breaks and as injuries undermined a roster that looked competitive when in good shape – there is a new kind of urgency about the team that has announced it, but hasn’t shown it, time and time again in recent years.
Minassian hands the reins to Nevin, who was appointed off-season after spending 2017 to 2021 as head coach for the New York Yankees. Nevin’s name has been in the mix for several managerial jobs in recent years, including opening the Washington Nationals when Matt Williams was fired after the 2015 season. Temporarily, he’ll get his first chance with the Angels.