Angels managerial candidates start with Phil Nevin but include many intriguing names
Who will manage the Angels next season?
If they pull out of this horrendous skid and make the playoffs, it’s all but certain interim manager Phil Nevin keeps the job.
Even if they miss the playoffs but post a winning record, Nevin is likely to remain. The players profess to adore him, he had a successful playing career and he’s an Orange County guy through and through, growing up in Fullerton, attending Placentia El Dorado High and Cal State Fullerton before becoming a first-round draft pick.
Should the Angels continue to lose, or even flounder around .500, owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian would be expected to embark on a search for the next manager, who would be the fifth in five seasons, following Mike Scioscia (2018), Brad Ausmus (2019), Joe Maddon (2020 through this week) and Nevin.
Here are a handful of likely candidates:
Ray Montgomery: The current Angels bench coach was moved by Minasian from the front office to the dugout before this season. Montgomery, 52, was the Angels’ director of player personnel in 2021 after spending six years with the Milwaukee Brewers as an assistant to the GM and four years with the Arizona Diamondbacks as scouting director. He played 12 professional seasons, including three in the big leagues with the Houston Astros.
Trey Hillman: Hillman, 59, is in his first year with the Angels as part of the player development staff, and he possesses a wealth of coaching experience. Although his two-plus years from 2008-2010 as manager of the Kansas City Royals produced dismal results, Hillman became the first person to manage teams in MLB, Japan and Korea. He’s also managed in the New York Yankees farm system for a decade, served as Dodgers bench coach under Don Mattingly and Houston Astros bench coach under A.J. Hinch. Hillman was third base coach for the Miami Marlins before leaving for the Angels.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian, who fired Joe Maddon as manager Tuesday, showed again that he is not afraid to own difficult decisions.
Walt Weiss: Minasian came to the Angels from the Atlanta Braves front office, and Weiss, 58, has been the Braves bench coach since 2018. Like Nevin, Weiss is a former first-round draft pick who enjoyed a long, successful big league career. He played shortstop on four World Series teams with the Oakland Athletics and Braves, and, of course, was in the dugout when the Braves won last year’s championship. Weiss managed the Colorado Rockies from 2013-2016 and didn’t post a winning record, going 283-365.
Ron Washington: Washington, 70, is also on the Braves’ staff, serving as third-base coach since 2017. He posted a record of 664-611 managing the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014, and took them to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, losing both times. Washington is universally liked by players. He played 19 seasons of professional baseball, 10 in the big leagues, some as a starting shortstop and others as a utility infielder.
Luis Rojas: Rojas, 40, managed the New York Mets in 2020 and 2021 after being thrust into the role when manager Carlos Beltran was implicated in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and fired. The Mets posted records under .500 in both seasons, and Rojas’ option was not picked up for 2022. Rojas spent 16 years with the Mets organization and managed four of their minor league teams in eight years. He is a son of former longtime manager Felipe Alou and the brother of former player Moises Alou. Jesus Alou and Matty Alou are his uncles.
Skip Schumaker: The San Diego Padres hired Schumaker as first-base coach ahead of the 2018 season and he was associate manager by 2020. When manager Jayce Tingler was fired after last season, Schumaker, 42, was out of a job for only a short time. The St. Louis Cardinals — where he spent the bulk of his 11-year playing career — scooped him up as bench coach and he is on track to become a manager. Schumaker, a former outfielder and second baseman who played for the Dodgers in 2013, lives in Orange County with his wife and two children.
Perry Minasian has put pressure on himself and must right the Angels’ fortunes after firing Joe Maddon. The risk is the team could face more instability.
Darin Erstad: Erstad is a link to the Angels’ 2002 World Series title, the All-Star center fielder catching the flyball that clinched the championship. But he also was an accomplished leader as a player and an accomplished manager recently. He was a finalist for the Dodgers job in 2015 along with Gabe Kapler and Dave Roberts — who was hired — before pulling out of the running because he and his wife had three young children. Erstad was the head coach at Nebraska, where he continued through 2019 and compiled a record of 267-193-1, taking the Huskers to four NCAA tournaments.
Joe Espada: Espada, 46, is the Astros bench coach and is considered a favorite to succeed manager Dusty Baker. He was a finalist for the Mets job last offseason and has been a candidate for several other managerial positions, including the Angels’ job before Maddon was hired. Espada served as third-base coach for the Marlins from 2010-2013, was an assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman in 2014 and the team’s third-base coach the following season.
Ryan Flaherty: Flaherty, 35, was Buck Showalter’s first choice for bench coach when he became manager of the Mets, but the San Diego Padres — for whom Flaherty serves as an advance scout and development coach — declined to let him interview. He was a first-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt and spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues. Flaherty is considered perhaps the top managerial candidate in baseball under 40.
Matt Quatraro: Quatraro, 48, is the Rays bench coach and was a finalist for the Mets job last offseason. He likely will be a candidate for the Philadelphia Phillies job if interim manager Rob Thomson isn’t retained. Quatraro was drafted by the Rays in 1996 and after a seven-year minor league career served as a coach and manager in their farm system. He left in 2014 to become assistant hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians then returned to the Rays in 2018 as third-base coach.
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