Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto will return to Angels in 2014
The Angels’ failure to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight year after investing heavily in high-priced free agents did not cost Manager Mike Scioscia or General Manager Jerry Dipoto his job.
Both Scioscia, who has five years and $27 million left on his contract, and Dipoto, who has one year left on his three-year deal, said Tuesday they had been informed by owner Arte Moreno that they will be retained for 2014, ending months of speculation that one, or both, would be fired.
But the fallout from a disappointing season in which the Angels finished 78-84, their second losing record in 10 years, hit the coaching staff. Bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard will not return in 2014.
“We’re looking to improve in all areas and to implement the same on-field excellence we had from 2002-2009,” Dipoto said, referring to a period in which the Angels made the playoffs six times and won a World Series.
“We feel like injecting different personalities, different voices, can be helpful. Unfortunately, good people have to suffer sometimes for the greater good of the whole, and that’s what happened here.”
Picciolo spent three seasons as the bench coach and eight in the organization. Eppard spent 1 1/2 seasons as hitting coach after Mickey Hatcher was fired in May 2012, and 11 years in the organization.
Dino Ebel, the team’s third base coach for eight years, was promoted to bench coach. Picciolo and Eppard could remain in the organization in player development roles.
In addition to the third base and hitting coach jobs, Dipoto said the team probably will add two new coaches, at least one of whom is likely to assist the hitting coach.
Among the candidates for the third base job are double-A manager Tim Bogar, a former Boston third base coach, and roving infield instructor Omar Vizquel. Former Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith and former Angels first baseman Wally Joyner could be candidates for hitting coach.
Former Angels closer Troy Percival and Charles Nagy, who was fired as Arizona’s pitching coach Tuesday, could be candidates for pitching-related jobs.
“You’re not going to find a guy who works as hard as Picc, but it’s time for Dino to move to the bench — he’s ready for the challenge,” Scioscia said. “Same with Eppy. He has a great knowledge of hitting. We’re just looking for a different dynamic on the offensive side.”
Unlike last year’s firing of Hatcher, which he strongly objected to, Scioscia said he was “absolutely” on board with Tuesday’s moves, an indication he and Dipoto are more unified in their vision for the team. Reports of a rift between Dipoto and Scioscia surfaced in September 2012 and intensified in August.
“There is absolutely no gap in philosophy in what Jerry and I believe is important to a club,” Scioscia said. “There’s a lot of chatter out there that is just not accurate. … We want to work as a team to get better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Dipoto, whose option for 2015 has not been exercised, and Scioscia have met several times since the end of the season, and both met with Moreno.
“The season created enough adversity for us,” Dipoto said. “We’ve been able to sit down and come to an understanding of how we can get through that adversity together.”
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