The Minnesota Twins fired manager Ron Gardenhire last week, leaving Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia as not just the longest-serving skipper in Major League Baseball, but by a landslide. After a first-round playoff debacle against the wild card Kansas City Royals — his team scored just eight runs in its last 52 innings — it’s past time for the Angels to relieve Scioscia of his duties after 15 long seasons at the helm.
While Gardenhire steered small market Minnesota to a remarkable six playoff appearances in nine seasons, then struggled with a bare cupboard since 2011, Scioscia’s team somehow missed the playoffs in four straight seasons despite the Angels massive payroll and a star-studded roster.
Following a successful 2014 season — undoubtedly aided by the Oakland Athletics’ monumental collapse over the final eight weeks and playing nearly one-fourth of the schedule against the awful Houston Astros and Texas Rangers — his club was easily knocked off by the Royals Sunday night. This was a fatigued Kansas City team some felt was just happy to be alive in October after three decades away from postseason baseball. It was a remarkably rapid fall for the Angels, as Scioscia was arguably out-managed each night by Ned Yost, of all people.
Winning a World Series 12 long years ago only gets you so far in my view, and many leaders have been fired much quicker. The 55-year-old was given immense talent and arguably the best player in baseball over the past three years. In that time, he achieved next to nothing, as the team hasn’t won a single playoff game.
Like Dusty Baker, Scioscia is known for his mismanagement of players that has led to recurring injuries. Though Garrett Richards suffered a freak injury in late August, he was on pace to throw too many innings for a rookie. Josh Hamilton had no business trying to play through an injury all season when he could have healed and been healthy for the postseason. He was hitless during the Angels three-game nightmare in the ALDS.
Scioscia also tends to play high-contract veterans over the club’s young prospects, which devalues the Angels’ farm system, causing those prospects to be underdeveloped or want to leave.
It’s mostly bad right now in Orange County, and could be for some time, but the front office apparently doesn’t think so. As of now, general manager Jerry Dipoto and Scioscia are coming back for more in 2015.
When a successful businessman like Angels owner Arte Moreno sees his company under-perform year after year, shouldn’t he hold management accountable?