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Elephant Rumblings: Ron Washington is the Angels’ new manager

MLB news roundup

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, guys!

The division rival Los Angeles Angles have made their choice for manager. The next domino to fall was Ron Washington, who will now lead the Angels in their pursuit of the playoffs:

That’s another former Athletic who has become a manager this off-season, behind Stephen Vogt. Granted, Washington never played for the Athletics during his 10-year playing career. Instead Washington made a mark on Athletics history for his work as a coach during two stints.

Washington’s first stint with the A’s lasted a decade between ‘96 and ‘06. He helped shepherd some of the elite gloves during those years, especially shortstop. During this first run he oversaw the defensive work of MVP Miguel Tejada and Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby, working especially hard with the middle infielders on defense. Both players credited him with a lot of their progress with the glove.

That success helped him parlay that into his first run as a manager with fellow AL West rival Texas Rangers. And he found lots of success there, taking Texas to their first two World Series in franchise history, back-to-back trips in 2010 and 2011. They couldn’t get over the hump in each, but that wasn’t because of Washington.

Then the hard times hit for Wash. He resigned as Texas’ manager in 2014 after allegations of sexual assault, and it was later revealed that he was having an affair and needed time away from baseball to repair the damage done. It wouldn’t take long for him to return to the game, though.

In fact it was only a seven-month respite from baseball. In early 2015 Washington rejoined the Athletics as an infield coach, and only a couple months later was promoted to third base coach. This was his second run with the team and it was arguably just as impactful.

Former Athletic (and now World Series Champion) Marcus Semien credited Washington with his huge improvement on defense. In his first full season as a starting shortstop, he made 35 errors (!). There was a lot of talk at that point that Semien might need to move to second, maybe even an outfield corner spot.

Instead, Washington worked hard with Semien to improve his defense and the returns were clear and obvious. Semien made only 21 errors in 2016, Washington’s final year with Oakland, and then only 9 errors in 2017 (albeit in only half a season). Marcus spoke with green about Washington and the impact he had on him, including this speech all the way back in 2019:

Washington left after 2016 for the greener pastures of Atlanta and joined the Braves as their third base coach, even after being considered for their managerial vacancy. He remained there and won his first World Series title in 2021 while helping Atlanta to the pinnacle of the baseball world.

And now Wash is about to begin the newest chapter of his baseball career. The 71-year old is now set for his second crack at managing an MLB team and he’ll be getting a tough assignment in Los Angeles. The Angels are expected to lose superstar Shohei Ohtani in the coming weeks/months and the team has severe needs in the pitching department. But perhaps more than anything, health would help them the most as Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, their two top players, are constantly injured. Los Angeles wasn’t the top job for potential managers this off-season but if anyone can help turn around the Angels, Washington is as good as a bet as anyone. As a fan and supporter of Ron Washington, we’ll be hoping he can find success in his new job (unless he’s playing our A’s. Then he can lose). Congrats, Wash!

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