Scapegoating is very common in losing seasons. We've seen no shortages of that in the last decade with the Los Angeles Angels who haven't put together a winning season since 2015. We all know that Arte Moreno is the biggest issue, yet he's the one constant who gets to remain for as long as he wishes.
While players deserve lots of blame, the staff is far from blameless for the Angels suffering one of the most embarrassing collapses in recent memory. The team was five games over .500 at the trade deadline and traded some of their best prospects in exchange for rentals with their eyes on their first postseason berth since 2014. Not only did they miss out, they collapsed spectacularly. They finished with a 73-89 record, going just 16-38 after the trade deadline.
One of the Angels staffers who was scapegoated deserved his fate. Another one did not. The third probably deserved harsher punishment.
Phil Nevin deserved his fate after the 2023 season
There's simply no disputing this. Phil Nevin never really deserved the job to begin with. Had Arte Moreno not had the Angels up for sale and then randomly pull them off the market there's a good chance Nevin wouldn't have kept the job in 2023. It's unfortunate that one of the most important seasons in franchise history had to occur with a manager who was not qualified for the job running the ship.
Nevin is far from the only man to blame for the Angels collapse, but he didn't exactly help matters either. Questionable bullpen and lineup decisions ran rampant throughout the season, and Nevin's lack of answers at press conferences only alienated fans further.
Things like keeping Taylor Ward entrenched in the leadoff spot for far too long, keeping Jose Suarez in the rotation for far too long, and keeping Carlos Estevez at the closer role despite his repeated second half struggles are just some things Nevin deserves blame for. We have no idea just how much he controls with Minasian involved in some capacity, but until we know that for sure it's only fair to blame the manager.
He'll catch on his feet at some point elsewhere probably in a lesser role. He's a baseball lifer and deserves that. A managerial job, however, did prove to be too much.