Is this a Make or Break Year for Mike Scioscia?

Updated: February 21, 2017

One playoff appearance in seven years. Zero playoff wins in that same span. Three playoff series victories in fourteen years. Zero championships in that same span. If I told you all those things were true about a particular team, would you believe me that the same manager had presided over that team all fourteen years? It’s almost unheard of for a manager to put together that kind of resume for one team and still find himself employed by that same team, but that’s where we are with Mike Scioscia and the Angels.

Now, let me clarify something here before I continue; I am in no way asserting that Scioscia is a bad manager. We know that Scioscia is a good manager, and he also happened to preside over the most successful run the Angels have had in their existence between 2002-2009, and that shouldn’t necessarily be discounted. We can’t just ignore, however, the run of futility the Angels have had over a full seven seasons, now. No other coach in any other sport would still have their job in this situation.

So, the Angels are sticking with Scioscia, for better or worse, chalking up a horrific season last year to bad luck and injuries. The Angels probably weren’t as bad as their record indicated last season, and Scioscia will have yet another chance to take the Angels to a place they haven’t been for fifteen years, now. That bears the questions, though; if the Angels are healthy and still fail to put together a good season, does that mean the end of the Scioscia era?

Scioscia has one more year on his contract after this one, for $5 million each year, so the odds of owner Arte Moreno paying Scioscia that much money to stay at home or worse, manage another team, seems slim. However, if things are going horribly for the Angels and they just can’t seem to get it going yet again, Moreno may have no choice.

The contract definitely muddies things up, but if we pretend there is no contract beyond this year, can we envision Moreno pulling the trigger even then? It seems unlikely. While there’s no concrete knowledge of how much power Scioscia has within the organization, it’s obvious Scioscia has a lot of power within the organization, and may have more pull than any other manager in baseball.

Whether that’s good or bad is an article in itself, but letting go of a manager that has become so ingrained into his organization is no easy task, regardless of the on-field product. Scioscia has lived through four different general managers, countless scouts, coaches, administrators, and players, and at this point is as much the face of the franchise as any player, Mike Trout included.

The bottom line is, it’s really hard to envision Scioscia being let go at this point, unless the Angels just completely give up and start off even worse than they were last season, and even then it’s tough to see it going down like that. The Angels have still competed and tried hard under Scioscia, and as long as that happens it’s hard to pin the blame on the manager with lots of injuries, bad luck, and subpar players in major roles they shouldn’t be in.

The most likely scenario is that Scioscia finishes out the final two seasons of his contract and then either retires or accepts a role within the organization. It’s also possible that if the Angels turn it around over these next two seasons and are legitimately contending that Scioscia would stick around for a few more seasons, although I highly doubt the Angels would offer another ten year contract like the one Scioscia is under now. Either way, for better or worse, Mike Scioscia will manage at least two more seasons for the Halos.

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