Angels give Phil Nevin one-year contract to return as manager

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin watches the team against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 19, 2022.
Phil Nevin, who served as the Angels’ interim manager after Joe Maddon was fired, will return in 2023 as the full-time manager.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Phil Nevin worked for this moment.

The interim manager had the “interim” dropped from his title when the Angels announced before Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics that he signed a one-year contract to remain the team’s manager for the 2023 season.

And the longtime major leaguer turned minor league manager turned MLB manager got choked up remembering all the people who prepared him for exactly this.


“There’s a lot of special people involved in this,” Nevin said as tears welled up in his eyes. “We talked about, you know, everybody wants to make a big deal, like the grind to get here. I’ve never looked at it as a grind. The grind is on your family.

“That’s the grind and there’s certainly people I wish I could call, my college coach, Augie [Garrido], Kevin Towers. Those are people that led me down this path, pushed me, kind of. I know they’d be proud.”

Garrido, who coached Nevin at Cal State Fullerton, and Towers, the general manager of the San Diego Padres when Nevin was a player there, both died in 2018. Nevin, who is from Fullerton, was drafted out of college in 1992, played in the big leagues for 12 years, including for the Angels, and managed in the minor leagues for seven, making his major league coaching debut in 2017.

Nevin spent most of the 2022 season as the Angels interim manager. The former third base coach, hired by the Angels in January, was promoted to the role after Joe Maddon was fired on June 7, in the midst of a franchise-record 14-game losing streak.

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“He told me to just take this opportunity and run with it, and be the person I am, which I plan to do,” Nevin said to The Times’ Mike DiGiovanna in June of the advice Maddon gave him upon the job changes. “If I’m trying to be somebody else, they’re gonna see right through that. So be authentic, be up front and be honest with these guys, and I think they’ll appreciate that.”

The Angels went 46-60 under Nevin.

Nevin was called in to talk to general manager Perry Minasian on Tuesday night.


“I was a little nervous because I’ve been called into that room before,” he said. “It certainly means a lot. It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned these things happening, but I know I’ve been given a heck of an opportunity.”

The players were told of Nevin’s promotion Wednesday morning.

Mike Trout endorsed Nevin’s work Sunday after the Angels’ home finale against the Texas Rangers, then again after the Angels’ last game of the season Wednesday.

“It’s been great,” Trout said. “The guys in this clubhouse trust him, rely on him and it’s been good these last few however long he’s been here. Nev knows the game, he worked hard to get here, means a lot to him, means a lot to us.”

Added catcher Max Stassi on Sunday: “Nev, love him. He’s done a great job. Just a good dude, just a baseball guy, baseball rat. Cares about his players, cares about just everything involved in winning. He’s the right man and we’re excited to have him.”

Nevin, aside from getting to manage Trout, a three-time MVP, also will get more time to manage reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani was asked to evaluate Nevin’s season, which he thought was a funny question.

“Evaluate,” he questioned in Japanese and laughed, “I’m on the side that gets judged, so it’s hard for me to judge. He was in a difficult situation. It’s not like he was doing it from the start. He came in midseason under some difficult circumstances, so I think he gave his all. I think the players also gave everything they had.


“I’d be happy if that could carry over to next year.”

Nevin does not have a plan for what his coaching staff will look like next season, but said he and Minasian will continue to plan through the offseason.

The Angels are in the middle of exploring the sale of the team, the process of which is expected to gain more traction during the offseason. Whenever a new owner is settled, they’ll make their own decisions on who they want in the front office and at the manager position.

Game No. 162

Ohtani’s final start of the season was cut short Wednesday, though it still added to his remarkable numbers to close out 2022.

Ohtani officially qualified as a league leader as a pitcher, the first player in the World Series era to qualify as a league leader as a pitcher and as a batter in the same season.

With Wednesday’s loss, Ohtani’s final record is 15-9 with an ERA of 2.33.

He has had a season full of highlights, though none that came to mind when asked about any one moment that made the greatest impression on him for the season.

Angels' Shohei Ohtani pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning.
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning Wednesday in Oakland.
(Godofredo A. Vásquez / Associated Press)

“Honestly, there’s nothing,” Ohtani said. “I forgot most of what’s happened in the past.”

Asked if this season was a new standard for him, he said: “Overall, I think it was good, of course. Finishing today is a disappointing part. Ordinarily, this would be the start [of the playoffs], or the real deal. It would be nice to go like that. I’d like to do my best to aim for that next season.”

The Angels have not reached the playoffs since 2014. Ohtani was asked what he thinks the team’s chances are of ending that drought next season.

“Whether I can put up numbers better than this year, last year, could be a help to the team,” he said. “So that’s what I can do individually. As far as reinforcing the roster, honestly, there’s nothing I can do.

“There were players who emerged this year, of course. If everyone can perform like that, I think there’s a chance. Of course, including me, when things don’t go as planned, if players who can cover that can emerge, it will make us a better team.”

On Wednesday, Ohtani sailed through the first four innings with relative ease, giving up neither a hit nor a walk. In the fifth, Ohtani gave up a walk, a hit, and then the A’s scored on a sacrifice fly.

After that, athletic trainer Mike Frostad and Nevin came out to check on him. As they approached, Ohtani lifted his right hand, palm facing up, and tapped his fingers with his thumb.


Ohtani has been dealing with a blister on his middle finger since Sept. 10, when he developed it during a game in Houston, cutting short that start. He explained the skin started to come off his finger after the first inning Wednesday.

He was not pulled immediately. Ohtani stepped back onto the mound, getting the final out of the fifth, a strikeout of Dermis Garcia on three pitches — Ohtani had six strikeouts Wednesday.

“He told me he could finish the inning, you see how he goes through that batter, he got him out,” Nevin said. “It’s been a heck of a year for him. I know he’s disappointed in today, but after four innings there, we started thinking about [him possibly throwing a perfect game or no-hitter] again. Special player, special person, I’m lucky to have him.”

As Ohtani returned to the dugout, the Angels had Nash Walters warming up in the bullpen.

Ohtani walked into the hallway leading to the visitors clubhouse with catcher Max Stassi, Frostad, and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

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Walters made his MLB debut, the second Angels pitcher to do so in Game 162 of a season, and pitched one-third of an inning.

Ohtani remained in the game as the designated hitter, going one for four.

Joining Ohtani in adding to the history books Wednesday was Mike Trout, who hit his 40th home run of the season in the eighth inning.


Trout’s home run traveled 490 feet, bouncing off a hallway landing in the middle of the center-field stands and back onto the warning track. It was officially the longest home run hit in baseball this season, excluding Coors Field.

“It was one of my goals when I came back, I told the guys 40 would be a good number, a cool number to get to,” Trout said. “I wasn’t thinking of it at the time, but it’s a pretty good way to go out.”

It’s the third time in Trout’s career that he has hit 40 or more home runs in a season. The last time he reached at least 40 was in 2019, when he won his last most valuable player award.

He’s also the sixth player all time to reach 40 home runs in 120 games or fewer in a season. The other five at Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., Matt Williams, J.D. Martinez and Nelson Cruz.

“I think if Mike plays a full season this year, the [MVP] conversation’s a lot different,” Nevin said of Trout’s strong finish.