Update: As of 3:15 PM CT on Tuesday, June 7, the Angels have relieved Joe Maddon of his duties as manager, replacing him with Phil Nevin on an interim basis.
We all remember the unceremonious end to Joe Maddon’s run as manager of the Chicago Cubs. In 2019, the team faded hard down the stretch, missing the postseason altogether for the first time since Maddon came to the Windy City in 2015.
At season’s end, the two sides decided to ‘mutually part ways’, and Maddon went on to return to the Angels, the team he started his coaching career with back in the 1970s. That homecoming, paired with the Cubs’ hiring of fan favorite David Ross, made it seem like a breakup where there weren’t any losers.
But here we are now, with Maddon in his third year at the helm in Anaheim, still looking not only for his first postseason appearance, but his first winning season. The Halos are in free-fall, losers of 12 straight contests heading into action Tuesday, 8 1/2 games back of Houston in the AL West.
Thanks to the expanded postseason, they’re just 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, but with the eighth-largest payroll in the game and an October drought that stretches all the way back to 2014, owner Arte Moreno’s patience has to be wearing thin at this point.
"“We’ve lost a lot of tough ones and it really makes no sense,” Maddon recently told MLB.com. “We got the right guys out there and the right time. And again, we gave it up late. We have to get that fixed. I loved the fight but we have to finish these games off, and that’s a big part of the situation we’re in right now.”"
After watching the Phillies fire manager Joe Girardi late last week after the team got off to a poor start, I can’t help but wonder just how long of a leash Moreno will give Maddon, regardless of his resume or history with the club. The only thing saving him now is the fact that two-thirds of the American League is treading water, which has allowed the Angels to stay in the hunt.
It’s early. After all, we’re just a week into June and the Angels are just two games under .500, despite this 12-game skid that’s already a franchise single-season worst. But with a roster that showcases two of the best talents in the game in Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, continuing to watch from home in October just isn’t acceptable.
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His seat might not be ablaze just yet, but there’s definitely smoke in Anaheim. If the Angels don’t pull out of this tailspin soon, Maddon could find himself out of a job before the All-Star Break.