When Jose Molina came up with the Angels it was an exciting time. The Mike Scioscia era has just begun and his brother Bengie was a key player on the Angel team.
In Jose Molina’s second season with the Angels he was a part of the most special season in club history as the team won the first and to-date only World Series. Molina was one of two back-up catchers to his brother Bengie, with Jorge Fabregas being the other. The younger Molina made the Angels post-season roster and appeared in three games in both the ALCS and World Series as a late-inning replacement for Bengie.
He would go on to being the full-time back for Bengie from 2003-2005, before earning the starting job in 2006. Jose Molina would then be traded to the New York Yankees becoming their starting catcher in 2008. In 2009 he played against the Angels for the Yankees during the ALCS and again got to be part of World Series winning team that season. Jose then moved on to the Toronto and then later the Tampa Bay Rays as their starting catcher in the 2013 season under Joe Maddon.
Now with Joe Maddon coming back home to manage the Angels Molina again has been reunited for the second time since he met Maddon in 2001 while in the Angels minor league system. Molina was a coach in the Angels minor league system for three years as a minor league catching coordinator until taking over in 2019 as part of Brad Ausmus staff as the major-league catching coordinator.
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Molina is one of four coaches on the staff who played while Maddon was the Angels bench coach. Along with Molina, Shawn Wooten, and now Mickey Callaway were all players on the 2002 World Series winning team. If Maddon fills the bench coach position with another former Angel like a Jack Howell, Darin Erstad, or Garret Anderson then his staff will have an interesting dynamic to it.
Jose Molina was very happy to be back in the fold as a coach on the Angels staff.
“It’s home to me (Anaheim) I played six years here. To get back here it feels really good and I feel like I’m home again,” Molina said. “It was amazing to be able to play here at the same time with my brother Bengie. It is not something everyone gets a chance to do. It was an honor. I’m just happy about that.”
The Angels catching situation was pretty volatile this year with both Jonathan Lucroy and Kevan Smith spending time on the IL. In addition Dustin Garneau, who filled in while Lucroy and Smith spent time on the injured list was lost when he was claimed off the waiver wire by Oakland. The Angels made a few minor deals hoping to solidify the catching spot after releasing Lucroy, but Max Stassi, and Anthony Bemboom did not prove to be a long-term answer.
The Angels will hopefully get somebody who can measure up to Molina’s standards especially defensively.
“They have done a good job, but they just got here a couple of months ago so they are still a work in progress. We will see how they will be for next year,”. said Molina of Stassi and Bemboom. “They all work very hard, but have a lot of work to do before next season. ”
If the Angels do not make any off-season move to improve the catching situation Molina will have his hands full. However, he is just happy to have been given the opportunity to coach for the Angels.
“It was amazing, I wasn’t expecting to get a position at the Major League level. It was honor to be chosen to be a part of this staff,” Molina said. “I’m looking forward to next season and working with Joe (Maddon).”