The Los Angeles Angels decided to cut ties with pitching coach Mike Butcher and hitting coach Don Baylor. The move is part of the newly minted general manager Billy Eppler to overhaul the Angels organization.
The announcement was made by Eppler in a late night statement that the Angels will not bring back Butcher and Baylor for next season. Meanwhile, Mike Scioscia, the league's longest-tenured manager, is slated to return for his 17th season.
"These are good baseball men and individuals who have a deep passion and focus towards their craft. I am both respectful and appreciative of the many contributions Don and Mike have made to this organization during their careers here," Eppler said.
The decision was made more than a week after Eppler occupied the GM position. His entrance comes in a time when the Angels has missed the playoffs and failed to perform in several areas last season after leading the majors with 98 victories back in 2014.
Butcher had been an Angels pitching coach for the past nine seasons. He came to Los Angeles in 2006 and replaced Bud Black, Scioscia's pitching coach during the team's 2002 World Series championship season. In a statement, Butcher said he had talked with team president John Carpino and Eppler. "We mutually agreed this might be a good time for change. Billy is an impressive individual with solid concepts for the future, and I wish him well," Butcher mentioned..
A leading candidate for new batting coach is said to be former major leaguer Dave Hansen. He has been the Angels assistant hitting coach since 2014. On the other hand, Erik Bennett, who is the pitching coach for Triple-A Salt Lake City, is be a top internal candidate to replace Butcher.
Meanwhile, Bleacher Reports' Joel Reuter observes that the Los Angeles Angels lack depth at second and third base, and has a need for left-handed hitting. He reports that the New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy might be a perfect fit for the said position and a good offseason target.
Murphy came off a strong season in which he managed to hit .281/.322/.449 with 38 doubles and 14 home runs, as well as 73 RBI. The 30-year-old second baseman is one of the longest-tenured players in New York's roster. He drafted the last time they made the playoffs in 2006. Murphy will soon be a free agent, and the Mets reportedly have less expensive options for his position, such as the 21-year-old Dilson Herrera.