By now you have probably heard that the Angels’ new general manager, Billy Eppler has made his presence known in Anaheim. Tuesday, Eppler did what many Angel fans have been hoping someone would do for awhile and sent pitching coach Mike Butcher packing. Butcher’s pitching philosophy and techniques has been in question for awhile now because of how former Halos’ seem to have a resurgence in their careers, once they leave the club: Fernando Rodney and Scott Kazmir among the most notable casualties. With Butcher gone, now the fun begins of speculating who might be his replacement.
Former San Diego Padres manager and Angels pitching coach could return if new Angels GM Billy Eppler would call. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The first name that probably comes to the minds of most Angel fans is former San Diego Padres manager and Angels pitching coach, Bud Black. When Black was in charge of the staff they flourished finishing top ten in staff earned run average (ERA) three times in his seven-year stint with the team. Butcher only achieved two, top ten staff ERA’s in 10 years. The pros of Black returning is that he and manager Mike Scioscia work well together. A major con is, if Black was given the job, how long would he stay? Would he leave to take another managerial position? These question will eventually be answered and Black is certainly the top choice for most Angel fans, going forward. He also could be a potential replacement for Scioscia. Not saying he would accept, but Black could assume the manager role if Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels ever part ways, especially mid-season. Some other former Angels that may be available and could be a good option are the likes of Chuck Finley, Jim Abbott, Mike Witt, and Mark Langston (who is already on the payroll and would get him away from the dreadful job he does as a color commentator aside Terry Smith on the radio.) Troy Percival whose name has been discussed for years, but currently is the head baseball coach at UC Riverside. Percival has said before that he is focused on his current position but at that time the Angels did not have a position open for him. Scioscia also likes to pull guys that he is familiar with from his Dodger days. Could former Dodger great Orel “Bulldog” Hershiser
Former Dodger great Orel Hershiser who was a pitching coach for the Texas Rangers for 4 seasons could be a great candidate for the Angels pitching coach vacancy Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
be a possible candidate for the Angels pitching coach vacancy? Hershiser was a pitching coach with the Texas Rangers from 2002 to 2005. Hershiser and Scioscia also have a great rapport which would be important. Another fun name to think about would be former Angels’ pitcher and hall of famer Bert Blyleven. Blyleven would definitely be a reach as he been an announcer for the Minnesota Twins since 1996 and he is 65 years old, but those of you who remember Bert during his time on the Angels in the late 80’s know he would add some life and definitely some knowledge to the Angels pitching staff. One another announcer that would be a lot less of a reach is Angels current color commentator Mark Gubicza, who had a successful big league career with the Kansas City Royals and the Angels. Gubicza also would have a good knowledge of the Angels pitching staff from watching them every day from the booth. He also seems to have a good rapport with Scioscia as they have been seen chatting many times before and after the game. The Angels could also promote from within the organization as well. Erik Bennett would be the most likely candidate from within. Bennett currently is the pitching coach for triple-A affiliate Salt Lake City Bees and just finished his 20th season with the Angels organization and 8th as the Bees’ pitching coach. Bennett has worked his way up through the Angels system, starting in single-A. So not only is he familiar with the young guys in the system, he is also familiar with veterans like Jered Weaver. Could he be the guy to get the nod and head up to the big league club? One thing is for sure. Whoever gets the job will have a team and minor leagues loaded with young pitching talent. All of these are purely speculation and just fun thoughts of who could become the Los Angeles Angels next pitching coach. Feel free to comment below with who you would like to see. Maybe former Cleveland Indian Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn is free. I know just a thought …