The Los Angeles Angels made the decision to fire Joe Maddon in the midst of their 14-game losing streak last season and replace him with third base coach Phil Nevin. This wasn't something to read into much as Nevin was simply the most experienced coach they had and they were looking to finish out the season.
After going 46-60 Angels fans assumed a search would take place that offseason to find a replacement, but instead, the Angels signed Nevin to a one-year deal as the ownership situation was in flux and no real managerial option would've taken a deal knowing he could be fired at any moment if/when Arte Moreno sold the team.
That left Nevin as a lame duck manager in a crucial year for the Angels franchise. This was their last year to show Shohei Ohtani that they were capable of fielding a winner before free agency. Things were looking decent for much of the season, but a second half collapse took place under Nevin's watch and he took the fall.
The Phil Nevin era in Anaheim was obviously a disappointing one. The Angels were 119-149 under him and he didn't exactly show signs of being a quality manager at any point. That era is now over. What grade does he deserve?
Give the LA Angels tenure of Phil Nevin a D+
It's hard to blame Nevin too much for the Angels struggles in 2022. Injuries ran rampant and they had absolutely no depth on the roster. This season, however, the Angels had more talent than they've had in a long time and finished with an identical record to the one they had last season.
Injuries are absolutely partially to blame for the Angels struggles, but very few managers survive a 17-38 stretch since August 1, especially when they've proven nothing. The Angels went all in prior to that August 1 trade deadline, acquiring players like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Randal Grichuk, C.J. Cron, and Dominic Leone. They'd immediately lose seven in a row and fail to play a single meaningful game.
Perry Minasian constantly supplied the roster with additional depth talent and that didn't seem to matter. Again, injuries did play a role. Nevin still had more talent and the Angels had the exact same record as last season.
It's hard to know how much the front office interferes with decisions Nevin takes blame for, but until we know that specifically strange lineup and bullpen decisions the Angels had this past season should absolutely fall on Nevin.
Players enjoyed playing for him as he was a player's manager, but winning is the top priority here. Nevin being friendly with the players is great, but he didn't get anything additional out of them for that. You can make an argument that this team regressed in 2023.
The bottom line here is he never really deserved the job to begin with, but was forced into it when Arte Moreno was trying to figure out whether he wanted to sell the team or not. He showed that he didn't deserve it with his team completely collapsing under his watch down the stretch.