LA Angels to move on from Mike Scioscia after 2018?

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 9: Home plate umpire David Rackley throws out Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia during the fourth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 9, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 9: Home plate umpire David Rackley throws out Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia during the fourth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 9, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

LA Angels manager Mike Scioscia is one of the most loved managers in baseball. His near 20-year reign over the Halos has proven a consistency unmatched by most modern-day managers. However, is this consistency something to be championed? Or are we simply settling for a baseline of “decency” because that’s what we’ve been conditioned for?

The LA Angels are one of the more prolific modern teams in baseball regarding their management. Mike Scioscia is a near legend and arguable Hall Of Fame material given his 15 year span with the team. A career win-loss percentage over .500 and World Series appearance along with a pennant title. Not only that, but he’s brought his team their first 100 win season in franchise history!

Pretty great numbers, right?

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Not over an eighteen year span. Lets do some simple comparisons here based on managers with at least half the time Scioscia has had with a single team. Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals has spent 8 years with the Royals and in that time delivered two pennants and a World Series title. Terry Francona spent 8 years with the Red Sox and won two pennants and two World Series in that time.

It isn’t even all about World Series wins and pennants. Look at Joe Maddon, often considered one of the brightest managers in baseball, and his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. Nine years and no titles? Lets not forget that Maddon took on a dumpster fire of a team. in 2006 and 2007 the Rays held a 101 loss season and a 96 loss season in his first two years before exploding in a team that would win less than 90 games only ONCE in a span of seven years following his initial two seasons.

Scioscia? He was handed a strong franchise and pulled a World Series win in his third year as a manager. Now get this, after his 2002 World Series win Scioscia has only had a 90+winning season six times in his 18 year career. The Angels haven’t had a 90 win season nor a playoff appearance since 2014.

Speaking of 2014, how did that playoff appearance look? No wins? Well that’s not good, how about his non World Series playoff record? Scioscia has only won 10 total playoff games outside of 2002. In comparison Joe Maddon has won twenty-one total wins in 11 seasons excluding his World Series season. Joe Girardi has seventeen wins in the postseason excluding his World Series season. Even Ned Yost, whose only appeared in TWO postseasons, has twenty-two postseason wins.

What is really sad is Mike Scioscias average end-of-season standings comes out to 2.2 for his entire career. The Angels average out a second place finish over his career yet they still find themselves on the losing side of history year in and year out.

Why exactly does Scioscia keep coming up critically short with the Angels?

ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 10: Jeff Mathis /

First off, Mike Scioscia has a hard time with favoritism. Constantly does he sacrifice the ability to win of his team to keep “his guys” on the field. Remember the Jeff Mathis/Mike Napoli tandem? Jeff Mathis is historically one of the worst hitters in baseball yet still buried the power hitting Mike Napoli because of a “defensive preference”.

What happened once Napoli found greener pastures and player-focused management? Mike Napoli became the one of the biggest Angels killer in the Major Leagues while enjoying multiple playoff runs and a revitalized career away from Scioscia.

Just recently we can look at how this trend effectively killed the Angels this season. For all of 2017 Bud Norris consistently took the mound to close over Blake Parker.  In 67.1 IP Blake Parker performed to a 2.54 ERA while allowing 7 HR and a S/09 of 11.5 with 16 BB allowed. Yet the actual closer, Bud Norris? In 62.0 IP he allowed   while walking 27 men in tune to a BB/09 of 3.9, all to a final ERA of 4.21.

How is it possible that Blake Parker can walk less and strike out more while allowing half as many runs with more IP under his belt? Maybe it’s the simple fact that Parker is better? So why was Bud Norris the go to guy most of the season?

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Honestly, even I can’t answer that question for you. Mike Scioscia’s favoritism goes beyond all rational thought and discussion.

Maybe the clearest rational is because they’re veterans? With that attitude you end up taking one of the best players in baseball and ruining his reputation out of some delusion that he’s entitled to be the eternal cleanup hitter. Albert Pujols threw up a poor season with a slash line of .241/.286/.386 on his way to a season that saw many pundits attack his poor performance.

It’s not like the Angels were starved for power production either, they could have had C.J Cron cleaning up with his slash line of .248/.305/.437 and that’s being modest given the Angels powerful depth with Mike Trout and Justin Upton. To give you an even sadder perspective, Pujols grounded into 26 double plays last season in 149 games as opposed to Cron’s 5 GIDP’s in 100 games.

To be quite fair, Pujols wouldn’t even be that bad slotted in the 7th or 8th hole. The lack of consistent pressure in run scoring situations might even take pressure off the guy and bring his numbers back to some form. Again, his 26 GIDP is a clear example of how poor his pitch selection is at the plate. That kind of poor pitch selection only exacerbates the Angels issues as a team, poor Pujols probably wouldn’t be killing himself at the plate if Scioscia didn’t force the fate of the team into his withering hands. (the article linked is from five years ago, yet is still relevant today.)

That isn’t even myself going deep into the lineup to see who’d make a better cleanup hitter, that’s just me dropping my finger on a decent Angels hitter and saying “oh, that guy could be better.” Just putting a simple figment of thought into who can clean up better would lead you the easy answer, Justin Upton.

So why is Scioscia seemingly unable to pull himself out of this thought-mire? Why is that, year after year, the Angels take a competitive season to the last months only to run out of gas before they can hit the finish line?

The Angels had been competing for a Wild Card berth in 2017 only to post a 17-11 record in the final month, which included a heartbreaking 6-loss streak that effectively put the Angels out of the postseason. One has to imagine what goes on behind closed doors to create such an ineffective atmosphere for players.

I doubt there is much going on besides Mike Scioscia going through the motions in the clubhouse. When you’ve been doing the same job for almost twenty years, and rather mediocrely, you’re going to drift from the mental vigor required to sustain a suitable performance.

The numbers are against Scioscia, the intangibles are against Scioscia, even his own management was against him until he ousted them by force. Something is clearly wrong with the Angels and despite all the player shifting, front office shuffles, and coaching staff restructures the Angels still cannot get it right under Scioscia.

Next: Howie Kendrick Should Come Back to Anaheim

It’s time to move on and create a system for the one true Mike, a system that should have been in place long ago. We can convince ourselves the Angels are centered around the best talent in baseball, but the truth is they’re centered around Scioscia and his low-energy, counter-productive brand of management.

I hear the guy who out managed you in the 2009 ALCS, the closest you’ve ever been to redemption, is up for grabs. You wanna fix the Angels? Start from the top.