The LA Angels Chose the Perfect Manager

Trust me, I have heard the LA Angels fans on Twitter complaining since the news broke this morning. However, let me convince you Billy Eppler made the right choice on Sunday morning.

When the LA Angels announced Brad Ausmus as their new manager, my first thought was likely the same as yours.

Meh.

However, as the hours have passed and I have had time to really think about it, Brad Ausmus may just be the perfect choice to lead this Angels team.

We all know Ausmus as the guy who never got it done in Detroit. Having three Cy Young Award winners in your rotation and getting swept in your only playoff berth is not a phenomenal resume. Most believed Ausmus’ biggest flaw in his game was his decision-making. Handling the bullpen, platooning, and other day-to-day decisions led to his outing in Detroit.

What Ausmus never lacked was leadership. He always kept the clubhouse united and knew how to lead a team. When Detroit’s front office was selling away every valuable player during his tenure there, Ausmus continued to overachieve.

For what it’s worth, Ausmus outperformed the Pythagorean win-loss record in three of his four years, per @TaylorBlakeWard. He finished with a 305-341 record for the Tigers, but given the lack of talent and consistency in the front office, being that close to .500 could be an accomplishment in and of itself.

When it comes to his decision-making, that could become a strength for Ausmus once he takes over for the Angels. Ausmus spent the past year as the special assistant to Billy Eppler. The general manager took him under his wing, and spent most games watching alongside Ausmus. You can bet Eppler and Ausmus were talking all about the “probability-based mindset” that was desired in the next Angels manager.

Another thing worth noting is of the names known that interviewed for the Angels opening, Ausmus was the only one with prior experience as a major league manager. While first time coaches are all the rage in pro sports nowadays, having someone who knows how to do the basics of the job and can handle the pressure is an underrated factor when deciding a manager.

And to those of you pointing out his disappointing time in Detroit as a reason not to hire him, would you take AJ Hinch, the manager of the Astros, as the Angels’ coach? In 2009, the Diamondbacks hired him as their manager but fired him after a bad start to the 2010 season. Overall, he went 89–123 as their manager. Afterwards, he spent time with the San Diego Padres as their vice president of professional scouting. After a few years, he resigned and started his tenure with the Houston Astros. As we all know, that has gone pretty well.

That isn’t to say Ausmus will be as successful as Hinch. The point being that managers can learn and evolve despite poor stints to start their careers. Brad Ausmus left a lot to be desired in Detroit. However, that isn’t a death sentence for his tenure in Anaheim. Billy Eppler trusts that Ausmus can change and become a smarter manager to pair with his phenomenal leadership.

If Eppler can trust his legacy as the Angels’ GM in Brad Ausmus, LA Angels’ fans can as well.