There is an old quote that says, “Change for the sake of change is a recipe for failure.” In the case of the Los Angeles Angels, it would in itself be a grave failure.
The possible dismissal of Mike Scioscia as manager of the Angels has been a hot topic around baseball this past week. Given the struggles of the Angels in 2012, especially after their high-profile additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, it is almost inherent of fans and media to question the leadership when a goal is not met.
And let’s face fact; at 62-60, 9.5 games out of first place in the American League West and 4.0 games out of the Wild Card hunt, goals obviously have not been met. At this rate, they will miss the postseason for the third consecutive season, the first such time it has happened under the Scioscia regime.
However, to place the blame at the feet of Scioscia would be misguided at best. This is a team that has failed expectations on quite a few levels. Pujols got off to a slow start. Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter, then wound up on the disabled list after his next start. Dan Haren has not been himself and has fought injuries. Ervin Santana has gone back to doing his best Bret Saberhagen impersonation, following up a solid campaign with a complete meltdown. And that does not even include the 3 months it took to find someone in the bullpen capable of closing a ballgame.
But for all their struggles, the Angels have enjoyed some success and a lot of that points to Scioscia making things work around the issues. He has done a masterful job dealing with his overcrowded outfield and designated hitter spots, finding a starting role for Mike Trout and keeping the hot bat of Mark Trumbo in the line-up while also giving Kendry Morales enough at-bats to remain effective now that he’s healthy.
No, this is a team that simply did not play up to expectations, but is certainly capable of more. Scioscia’s stellar track record at the helm is more than deserving of the chance to weather a bump in the road. With a 1128 wins and a career winning percentage of .546, Scioscia has lead the Angels to 5 division titles, 1 American League pennant, and 1 World Series championship. He has won two American League Manager of the Year awards. Additionally, Scioscia three former lieutenants, Bud Black, Joe Maddon, and Ron Roenicke are manning the helms in San Diego, Tampa Bay, and Milwaukee, and have enjoyed success of their own in doing so.
That said, it goes further than Scioscia’s accomplishments as a manager. Who would the Angels look to replace him with? Terry Francona’s name has been brandied about, but given his exit from Boston and the reasons behind it, Francona’s next managerial job will not likely come by replacing another established manager. Maddon would be the top choice, but his life in Tampa Bay is good and he is nearly untouchable. Do you go to a guy like Dave Martinez, Ryne Sandberg, or Joey Cora to replace a guy like Scioscia?
No, you do not replace Scioscia after 2012. You give him and this team a chance to gel. You fill the holes at third base, catcher, and the bullpen. Then you give them the 2013 to prove their mettle. If they fail, then Scioscia is gone; his course run and his message lost.
But Mike Scioscia is not the kind of guy to let that continue to happen in Los Angeles. He built a culture of winning for the Angels, and he is not about to let that change.