The Angels entered the off season looking for a manager. A surprising candidate emerged in the form of one of my all time favorite players, Torii Hunter. We’d heard about Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad, but news of Torii was new.
Alas, the Angels went with baseball lifer Ron Washington and signed him to a two year contract to manage the club. News quickly followed that Washington intends to add Torii Hunter to his coaching staff.
In fact, if this staff comes to fruition Torii won’t be the only former Angels great on it.
I loved Chili Davis and had the chance to meet him years ago. I still have the program from the first Angels game I attended and it featured Chili on the cover with dynamite wanting to blow up the home run suppressing Candlestick Park. We laughed about that cover. He was cool.
A 71 year old taking on a younger man with aspirations to manage sure feels like a baton passing in the making. Hopefully Torii is the man at the helm of the next Angels run of excellence.
In the meantime, what can Washington bring? Defensive prowess, and the Angels need it. Take a look at this graph and see the Angels way over the left. The 2023 Angels gave up 123 more runs than the Texas Rangers and 87 unearned runs on the year. Patrick Sandoval led all of baseball in unearned runs allowed.
Getting some good, fundamentally sound defense behind this young pitching staff could work wonders.
Now that the manager is in place and the coaching targets have been identified it is time to field an actual team. The Angels can go in several directions this off season and I took a look at three of them.
Let the Kids Play is pretty obvious and Turning Japanese was fun to write. I am legitimately more intrigued by the NPB players available than most of the MLB free agents and do hope the Angels land some more Japanese talent.
Slash and Burn wouldn’t be fun for a couple of years but is probably what is really needed. Rebuilds take patience, though and Arte doesn’t have it. Neither do any of the men in my family and I recognize a kindred spirit.
In non-Angels news, Trevor Bauer is looking for work at the MLB level. I can’t see many teams lining up for him but I might be wrong. This wasn’t his only incident, after all.
So who bites? Astros? Yankees?
It sounds like the annual GM Meetings were in Mexico and everyone drank the water. Whatever it was, the plumbing at the resort got a good workout and the meetings were called off early.
Why did Craig Counsell spurn the Mets and join the Cubs? SI tries to explain.
And with this thread talking a lot about managers, let’s categorize some managers.
And last, but not least, let’s just enjoy some Torii highlights. I am making it my personal life mission to interview Torii now. It would greatly help if we had a Twitter/X magnate to promote the site. Let me know if you can help.
Enjoy your weekend and link what I missed. We have two games of Fall Ball remaining. We showed a lot of improvement last week and played the best team in the league pretty closely for the last few innings. I was happy for the kids and proud of them. We’ll definitely have a post game pizza party after the game Sunday.