Los Angeles Angels are back in (Bud) Black!
By David Rice
The Los Angeles Angels completed their flashback Wednesday as they hired former pitching coach Bud Black to be a special assistant to General Manager Billy Eppler.
Former Angels third base coach Ron Roenicke was also hired earlier in the day on Wednesday to assume the same role with the team in 2016. Roenicke had served as the Angels’ third base coach from 2000-2006 until bench coach Joe Maddon left the Angels to become manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. When Maddon left, Roenicke assumed the role as Scioscia’s right hand man as the bench coach until 2011, when Roenicke left to become the Brewers’ manager.
Black was thought to be a candidate to retake the reins as the Angels’ pitching coach this off-season. Former pitching coach Mike Butcher, who replaced Black as pitching coach when he left the team in 2006 to become the San Diego Padres manager, was not tendered a new contract for the 2016 season, which opened up the position. However, at the time when the Angels were searching for a new pitching coach, it was widely thought Black would become the new Washington Nationals manager. That move never came to pass as the two sides could not agree on the terms to a contract, but the Angels went ahead and hired former Indians star Charles Nagy to fill the role of pitching coach for 2016.
The saga didn’t end there for Black, as he became a candidate to head up the I-5 to Los Angeles to be their manager. Black was a finalist as of last Friday, but it was announced Wednesday morning that he had been taken out of the running for the position. Just hours later, Black was announced as the new special assistant to Eppler in a move that will delight most Angels fans who remember Black fondly for his ability to build a strong pitching staff.
Black is the second assistant to Eppler to be named in the past month, as former Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez also was hired in the same capacity. Just as it was said for Chavez that he would help with minor league players and during Spring Training, Black will most likely do the same dealing with the Angels’ minor league pitchers.
With the move, the Los Angeles Angels almost have their whole coaching staff back together from their 2002 World Championship season. While Black is not officially part of Scioscia’s on-field coaching staff, you can believe he will take an active role in helping his former boss. One interesting side note that many fans are probably thinking is that the Angels now have two former managers as part of their staff that could assume the same role with the Angels if Scioscia decides to leave or is fired. However, Scioscia is not the type to look over his shoulder, and the fact that both Black and Roenicke are close friends of his, Scioscia probably does not feel threatened.
So in closing I would like to say welcome back Bud, we sure did miss you. Let’s recapture the magic of the 2002 season.