Joe Maddon agreed to a three-year deal to become the Los Angeles Angels’ manager on Wednesday, reuniting the World Series-winning former bench boss of the Chicago Cubs with the organization where he spent the first three decades of his baseball career.
Maddon signed with the Angels as an undrafted catcher in 1975, and he spent the next 31 seasons working at almost every level of the organization as a player, coach and manager. He served as a big league assistant coach under five managers, and he had two stints as the Angels’ interim manager.
He was the Angels’ bench coach alongside manager Mike Scioscia during their championship season in 2002.
Maddon left to manage Tampa Bay in 2006 for nine mostly successful seasons, followed by a big-money move to Chicago to make history.
The three-time Manager of the Year left the Cubs by mutual consent last month after they missed the playoffs for the first time in his five-year tenure. He’ll still likely never have to buy a drink in Chicago again because of 2016, when he led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.
Maddon replaces Brad Ausmus, who was fired after one season when the Angels finished 72-90, their worst record since 1999.
Maddon was expected to be a valued candidate for other managerial openings around the majors, but he was clearly eager for a reunion.
Maddon kept a home in Long Beach during his 14 seasons away from Anaheim, and he has fond feelings for the organization that gave him his start.
That organization is experiencing hard times: The Angels have endured four straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1970s, and they still haven’t won a playoff game with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on their roster, making just one three-game postseason appearance after winning the AL West in 2014.
The Angels also were rocked this month by revelations about the role of a team employee in procuring opioids for pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room July 1.