Former Los Angeles Angels star Darin Erstad has been one of the names tossed around in the Los Angeles Dodgers managerial search that is entering its fifth week now.
I’m not sure how you felt about it, but as a die-hard Angels fan coupled with the fact that Erstad is my favorite Angel of all time, I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard he was being considered to be the next Dodgers manager.
On one hand, I would be happy for “Ersty,” as he is affectionately known by most Angels fans, because I think he would make a great big league manager, even for the Dodgers. However, to see Erstad in a blue Dodger uniform would be enough to make me lose my lunch. When the story broke a few weeks ago, I was praying anybody else but Erstad would get the job. Then, last Friday I heard Erstad was in the final four for the Dodgers job and I cringed even more.
However, driving to work today when I heard on KFWB that Erstad had taken his name out of contention to lead the three-ring circus in LA, I let out a yell in my car. I knew once again all things were right in the baseball world, at least the one in Anaheim. Erstad has decided to stay at the helm of his college alma mater, Nebraska.
This may seem absurd to some of you that I care about this so much, especially since the Angels pillaged current manager Mike Scioscia away from the Dodgers 16 years ago, probably much to the chagrin of some loyal Dodgers fans. So some of you may be saying turnabout is fair play. However, when it comes to baseball, and particularly the Angels, the rules of fair play do not apply.
Honestly, I really hope that in the next couple of years Erstad will be called on to be the Los Angeles Angels replacement for Scioscia. I was actually hoping he would be named the new hitting coach for the Angels for next season (no offense to Dave Hansen, I just like Erstad to be a part of the organization again.) I think Erstad’s grittiness and toughness would be perfect for the Angels, not saying I have given up on Scioscia, but I think his days in Anaheim will be done in the next few years, if not this year.
The other person I would love to see step in to the Angels organization and be a potential replacement for Scioscia would be David Eckstein, for the same reasons as Erstad. I think that Eckstein would bring some toughness and grit to the team which I feel has been lacking somewhat in recent years (Johnny G. may be bringing some of it back). Again, this is just a thought for the future as I don’t think Scioscia needs to be ousted at this point.
So now the Dodgers managerial search is down to three names, one of which I would rather not see get the job (my Angel loyalty coming out again), and that is former Angel pitching coach and San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. I truly believe he would be great for the job, but he is not my worst enemy either so I don’t want him to get the job either.
Former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black and bench coach Dave Roberts are both potential candidates for the Los Angeles Dodgers manager
. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
So the other two candidates for the Dodgers job are Gabe Kapler and Dave Roberts, which in my unbiased opinion, I think Roberts would do the best job. Roberts has a personality and toughness similar to Erstad, who as much as I would have hated it, would have been a good choice for the Dodgers job.
Now to make things really good in Angel land, the team should make every attempt to re-sign David Freese, as I believe he is good for this team (his attitude and mental toughness). With one of the veteran leaders departing this week, Erick Aybar, the Angels need to take into account the importance of leadership and chemistry in the clubhouse, even if they might be able to get a younger and potentially more talented player at third base (Evan Longoria of the Rays and Trevor Plouffe of the Twins are names that have been tossed around the rumor mill).
Whatever new General Manager Billy Eppler decides to do in regards to personnel will start to define his legacy as Los Angeles Angels general manager. Hopefully, it will help the Angels return to being a perennial playoff team and maybe finally get back to the World Series again.