The Los Angeles Angels named Brad Ausmus the team’s new manager on Sunday, which moves him from the front office back to the dugout.
GM Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno would introduce Ausmus as the new skipper Monday afternoon at Angel Stadium, a formal opening to a new chapter in the team’s history book.
Former manager Mike Scioscia ended his tenure of 19 seasons just three weeks ago after another year of missing the playoffs. Scioscia, though, did bring the Angels their only World Series title home. And, he eventually became the winningest manager in franchise history with 1,650 victories. But the change was needed after Los Angeles finished 80-82 for a second season. That finish also gave them a three-year losing streak, something that hadn’t happened since 1992-94. Sometimes change is necessary. It’s as simple as that.
But Ausmus is certainly a shift from the “old school” Scioscia approach. He’s up to date with analytics and probability-based decision-making. And he’s a much younger manager, one who’s not too far removed from his playing days.
“Ultimately, Brad’s balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision-making led us to him,” Eppler said according to ESPN. “We believe his knowledge, drive and growth-mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization.”
Ausmus spent four seasons with the Detroit Tigers before the club parted ways with him last fall. The Tigers won 90 games and earned the AL Central title in his first year as manager. But an aging Tigers’ club finished 314-332 before the Ausmus era came to an end. This past year, he spent time working in the Angels front office as an assistant to Eppler.
Now, the new skipper believes he’s better prepared to manage this time around.
“Adaptability is important to the Angels, and part of the reason I came to the Angels was because I needed to adapt,” Ausmus told reporters. “Analytics are part of the game. I had an understanding of analytics before I got here. I’ve been using numbers to create scouting reports since about the year 2000. … If you use the numbers to make the players and the teams better, that’s the important thing. I wanted to find out more about how we can help players on the field be better, how we can make teams win.”
So while the specifics haven’t been quite worked out yet, Ausmus and the Angels are looking to one thing. And that’s another World Series title. That’s the goal; that’s always the goal.
“I spent 18 years as a player and four years as a manager and I don’t have a World Series ring,” he adds. “I want a World Series ring. That’s our goal. I don’t care what the pundits say.”
He already has the best, most consistent player in baseball in Mike Trout. Now it’s just up to the front office to put a winning team together.