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#pounditThursday, August 18, 2022

Articles tagged: Joe Maddon

Brutal anecdote emerges about Angels’ Joe Maddon firing

Joe Maddon in sunglasses

Mar 10, 2020; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon looks on prior to facing the Seattle Mariners in a spring training game at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels fired manager Joe Maddon in the midst of a long losing streak. That much is understandable, but the exact timing of the firing wound up being pretty awkward and brutal for the manager.

ESPN aired a video essay on the state of the Angels prior to the team’s appearance on “Sunday Night Baseball.” In it, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian shared a pretty harsh story. With the Angels’ losing streak at 12 games, Maddon got a mohawk haircut in a bid to shake things up and break the streak. Angels players never even got to see the look, however, because Maddon was fired before he could even manage the next game.

Obviously, the Angels were not going to change their decision because of Maddon’s hairstyle. That’s still a pretty ridiculous visual to imagine the team’s brass informing Maddon of his dismissal right after he got a ridiculous haircut in a bid to reverse the team’s fortunes.

Maddon was not the only one trying anything possible to reverse the team’s fortunes. Ultimately, the streak extended to 14 games before it finally ended Thursday.

Angels never had much confidence in Joe Maddon entering season

Joe Maddon at a press conference

2022 was a make-or-break year for Joe Maddon as manager of the Los Angeles Angels. The team’s recent 12-game losing streak turned into a breaking point.

The Angels on Tuesday fired Maddon amid their losing streak in hopes that a new voice will help turn things around. They never really had much confidence in him this year anyway.

Maddon signed a 3-year deal with the Angels when he was hired to manage them prior to the 2020 season. He entered this season as a lame-duck manager; he had have a successful season to earn a contract extension.

The team started off strong. They were 27-17 and looked to be in good shape to make the postseason for the first time since 2014. But then they started losing games and couldn’t stop.

A big postseason run would have triggered a $4 million vesting option for the manager. But Maddon also had a $1 million buyout. According to reporter Bob Nightengale, the Angels never engaged in contract extension talks with Maddon.

Maddon went 130-148 (.468) over two-plus seasons as the team’s manager.

While the team has the flashy names in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, they have had several other gaping holes; poorly used funds; and several injuries.

Ohtani did not pitch in 2020; Trout was injured most of 2021; and Anthony Rendon has been injured for much of 2021 and 2021. The Angels gave out bad contracts to Albert Pujols, Justin Upton and Rendon, all of which hampered their ability to build well otherwise.

Maddon just wasn’t given a chance this year in what was his first full season with a reasonable roster and few injuries. Now it will be interim manager Phil Nevin’s turn to see what he can do.

Joe Maddon fired as manager of Angels

Joe Maddon in sunglasses

Mar 10, 2020; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon looks on prior to facing the Seattle Mariners in a spring training game at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels are making a drastic change amid their horrific losing streak of late.

The Angels announced Tuesday that manager Joe Maddon has been fired. Third base coach Phil Nevin will be taking over as interim manager.

The former World Series champion Maddon was in his third season leading the Angels. He had gone 130-148 (.468) over that span and failed to reach the postseason with the team, despite having Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani (who won AL MVP in 2021) on the roster.

While the firing of Maddon is a massive shake-up, it is also not really that surprising. The Angels, after starting the season 27-17, are nursing a ghastly 12-game losing streak that is still active. If the playoffs were to start today, they would once again fail to qualify, even with an added third Wild Card spot this season.

It felt like somebody had to take the fall for the Angels’ catastrophic last couple of weeks. In the end, that guy ends up being Maddon, who was drawing scrutiny even when the Angels were winning.

Joe Maddon has theory about Yankees hitting Shohei Ohtani so well

Shohei Ohtani in the dugout

Aug 21, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani struggled against the New York Yankees on Thursday, but manager Joe Maddon thinks he knows the solution to the issues.

Ohtani lasted just three innings as the Los Angeles Angels lost 6-1 to the Yankees in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheaders. The Angels ace gave up eight hits, including three home runs, and got just three swings and misses in 75 pitches.

Maddon revealed after the game that he believed Ohtani had been tipping his pitches, and it was something the Yankees were able to pick up on without cheating.

Ohtani did not give much of an answer when asked if he felt the Yankees had something on him, and instead suggested asking hitters.

There is certainly the possibility that Ohtani was somehow tipping pitches, and some on Twitter had raised the point as well. Some pointed to a 101 mph fastball he threw to Matt Carpenter, a pitch Carpenter managed to be early on despite the velocity and its location.

The Yankees have faced accusations of stealing signs before, though Maddon was not suggesting that was happening here. If anything, the Angels manager seemed to be suggesting that the Angels needed to do a better job keeping their intentions secret. We may know more assuming Ohtani tries to make some corrections ahead of his next start.

Joe Maddon explains his controversial strategy against Rangers

Joe Maddon in sunglasses

Mar 10, 2020; Peoria, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon looks on prior to facing the Seattle Mariners in a spring training game at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels skipper Joe Maddon is no stranger to controversial managerial decisions, and we were all reminded of that on Friday night.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning of his team’s game against the Texas Rangers, Maddon made a decision. He concluded that the best course of action was to intentionally walk Corey Seager and put Texas up 4-2, much to the dismay of pitcher Austin Warren.

The decision to walk Seager added to the Rangers’ lead. And from there, things only got worse.

Following Seager’s walk, the Rangers cashed in on a sacrifice fly and then a balk by Warren. When the inning finally came to a close, Texas had a 6-2 lead.

After the game, Maddon explained his line of thinking.

“I thought by walking Seager, it would avoid the big blow. And just to stir up the group, quite frankly. It’s not something you normally do. I thought by going up there and doing something like that, the team might respond to something like that,” Maddon told reporters, via’s Rhett Bollinger.

Maddon is known for using interesting strategies when it comes to handling his players mentally.

As unconventional as the decision was, it did rally the team. The Angels stormed back with a five-run fifth inning before adding another two runs in the seventh. Raisel Iglesias then pitched a scoreless frame in the ninth to close out a 9-6 Los Angeles victory.

Maddon’s decision to intentionally walk a batter with the bases loaded was only the third such instance over the past 70 years. Coincidentally, he was also the last manager to issue a bases loaded intentional walk. The last time he did it came in 2008 when Tampa Bay Rays reliever Grant Balfour issued a walk to Josh Hamilton.

In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks also intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded.

Angels manager clarifies surprising Mike Trout rumor

Mike Trout looks on

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon is setting the record straight after creating a bit of a snowstorm about Mike Trout’s status for 2022.

Over the weekend, Maddon sparked some rumors about the three-time MVP Trout potentially moving from center field to a corner spot following the calf strain that cost him most of last season.

“To play center field every day in the big leagues coming off a severe injury, that’s not gonna be easy,” said Maddon, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “No conclusions have been made, but I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t tell you that this hasn’t been part of the conversation, because it has.”

Those comments created a bit of a stir. Thus, Maddon clarified the rumors Monday, saying that Trout will, in fact, be playing center field this season.

Trout himself also met with reporters on Monday. The 30-year-old said that he was surprised by the talk of him moving to a corner spot and added that he wants to remain in center field.

Center field is a tougher position with more ground to cover than a corner outfield spot. The Angels also have an excellent defender in Brandon Marsh who can play center field full-time instead. But Trout is the Angels’ franchise player and has been in center field for his entire career. As such, they would be wise to leave any such decision on a position change to Trout alone.

It sounds like Trout is content to stay in center field, so that figures to be the end of that conversation. It also means that we can probably look forward to more moments like this from Trout in the outfield.

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Maddon: Anyone other than Shohei Ohtani getting MVP vote is ‘ridiculous’

Shohei Ohtani

Joe Maddon got to witness Shohei Ohtani’s incredible season up close. The Los Angeles Angels manager oversaw the team as Ohtani pitched and hit at All-Star levels. And he believes Ohtani should be the unanimous AL MVP.

Maddon spoke with AM 830’s Roger Lodge for an interview on Monday and did not hold back about his star player.

Maddon said that Ohtani “absolutely” had the best season in MLB history.

“To indicate or even suggest that he is not the MVP is ridiculous,” Maddon told ‘The SportsLodge with Roger Lodge.’ “How do you not reward somebody that’s had the best year in the history of Major League Baseball with the ultimate reward for individual achievement, which would be the AL MVP?

“It’s staggering to watch every day. And he does it with a lot of joy for the game,” Maddon said.

Maddon believes that Ohtani can repeat the huge season and even get better. He said that Ohtani could play more innings next season. He added that Ohtani might have more success at the plate if he has more protection in the batting order (top Angels hitters Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon were hurt most of the year).

“He is the AL MVP. Anybody else should not get a first-place vote. You’re talking about the best year in the history of our game,” Maddon said on Lodge’s show.

Ohtani smashed 46 home runs, drove in 100, scored 103 runs and had a .965 OPS. He also stole 26 bases and tied for the league lead with eight triples. As a pitcher, he was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings. The question of who deserves AL MVP should be an open and shut case, but some people want to turn it into a debate. Maddon has a definitive response to those people.

Joe Maddon had interesting suggestion for how to use Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson

Joe Maddon is known for his creativity and outside-the-box thinking. That apparently extended to his suggestion for how the Angels use Bo Jackson.

Jackson was a two-way athlete who starred at Auburn in the 1980s and then played in both the NFL and MLB. In his final season in pro baseball, Jackson played left field for the Angels. Maddon was a coach with the Angels then.

He recently told ESPN’s Buster Olney and Matt Vasgersian that he suggested to the Angels that they try using Jackson as a pitcher.

Jackson was an incredible athlete. He had supreme strength and speed, and his throwing arm was incredible.

Given how Jackson could be an All-Star in MLB and Pro Bowler in the NFL, we wouldn’t put it past him to have been able to pitch at a high level too. You should definitely check out this old scouting report of Bo from when he was in college.

Joe Maddon wants Shohei Ohtani to pitch and hit in All-Star Game

Shohei Ohtani hitting

Shohei Ohtani is one of the most unique players in recent memory, and his manager wants that spotlighted in the All-Star Game.

On Friday, Angels manager Joe Maddon advocated for Ohtani to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game. He added that he has discussed the idea with AL manager Kevin Cash.

“The maximum participation of Shohei within limits to me is the right thing to do,” Maddon said, via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. “What else could you possibly want? We have to do it in a manner that is not going to be destructive in some way.

“In order to have him both pitch and hit, you have to relax a bit, the DH rule. I think they’re prepared to do those kinds of things.”

This is a no-brainer. Ohtani should attract interest even from fans who don’t watch baseball regularly. He’s doing things nobody else has done in our lifetime, and he generates excitement with everything he does on the field. Combine that with his participation in the Home Run Derby and you have an easy decision for the league to make — Ohtani should be on display as much as possible.

Joe Maddon got very creative with Shohei Ohtani in lineup

Shohei Ohtani

Joe Maddon got very creative with his use of two-way player Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday night.

Ohtani started for the Los Angeles Angels against the Houston Astros and pitched seven innings. He allowed just four hits, one walk and one run while striking out 10. The Angels trailed 1-0 when he was lifted as a pitcher, though they tied the game with a home run in the top of the eighth.

Ohtani was due up second in the top of the ninth and Maddon did not want to lose the slugger’s valuable bat. So Maddon placed Ohtani in right field for the eighth inning, which would allow Shohei to remain in the game.

The Angels’ bullpen ended up blowing the game by allowing four runs to make it 5-1. Ohtani struck out looking in the ninth as the Angels went 1-2-3 to lose the game 5-1.

The bullpen blowing the game is what hurt the Angels. But Ohtani did his best on the mound and in the box to keep them in it. And credit Maddon for thinking creatively to keep one of his best bats in the lineup.