It wasn’t long after Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani discussed his “negative impression” of the past season that the Angels announced they had parted ways with the two coaches who oversaw the team’s lackluster hitting in 2022.
Los Angeles Angels part ways with hitting coaches in preparation for what could be a very important season ahead
Absolutely, the timing of Ohtani’s not-so-sunny comments about last season and the announcement from the Los Angeles Angels that hitting coach Jeremy Reed and assistant hitting coach John Mallee won’t be back with the club in 2023 could well be coincidence. However, there is no coincidence that the Angels know that keeping Ohtani happy and showing him the team can compete before his contract with the club ends at the end of the 2023 campaign is critical.
The Angels were one of the worst offensive teams in baseball last season, despite the presence of Ohtani and future Hall of Famer Mike Trout in the lineup. The team racked up 1,539 strikeouts (the highest mark in MLB) and were near the bottom of the league in several categories, including runs scored (25th out of MLB’s 30 clubs).
It’s an interesting time for the Angels, not only with Ohtani’s contract expiring at the end of the season and trade rumors likely to swirl around him throughout the campaign, but also with manager Phil Nevin under a one-year deal and Arte Moreno on his way out as the owner of the franchise. Putting together a winning product on the field is important for a number of reasons in 2023 and, for the Angels, improving the hitting is a priority in making that happen.
This offseason will likely provide a compass for the Angels moving forward, with the franchise determined to show Ohtani why he should be a part of their long-term future. While no candidates for the hitting openings have been officially named, it’s likely the team will look for coaches who can make a quick impact with the team desperate to show Ohtani and the rest of baseball it can compete in the American League West.