Three reasons Joe Maddon appears destined to join the Los Angeles Angels


After four years of playing and almost forty years of coaching, Joe Maddon is a free agent.

The last time he held that distinction, Maddon was a 21-year-old trying to make it as a catcher in the big leagues. He ultimately joined the Angels — his first and last professional team as a player – in 1975, then played four seasons of A-ball with the Quad Cities Angels, Salinas Angels and Santa Clara Padres before trading in his catcher’s glove for a clipboard. Maddon went from being a scout in the Angel’s farm system, to a manager in the minors, and then to a coach on the Angels’ staff from 1994-2005, including three stints as an interim manager. Maddon spent a total of 31 years with the Angels before moving to the Tampa Bay Rays’ staff and then to the Cubs.

As Maddon looks for what could be his last MLB team before retiring, the question lingers—will he return to the Angels? His history with the team, along with three other relevant factors, seem to hint at an impending move to L.A.:

Maddon is interviewing for the position

Buster Olney of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic/FOX reported earlier today that Maddon has accepted an invitation to interview for the Angels’ gig. As of right now, Maddon is the only candidate whom it's been widely reported will interview with the Angels, and while interviewing for the job doesn’t unequivocally confirm Maddon’s desires, his willingness to take the interview does show a level of heightened interest that he hasn’t displayed to any other teams with open managerial positions.

Maddon has a house in Long Beach

Maddon already has a vacation home in Long Beach, just west of where the Angels play in Anaheim, making the move feasible and sensible. Maddon does not have a home in every state or near every ballpark that is considering him for the 2020 season, so the only 35-minute drive on the CA-22 West is worth noting. 

Maddon may have a hard time turning down the perks that come with the position

In a farewell podcast on 670 The Score with Laurence Holmes, Maddon noted that his favorite food, even after spending years in Chicago, is Mexican food -- potentially a subtle hint that the hole-in-the-wall taco shops of Southern California might be a factor in Maddon’s decision for the future. 

And if the location, food and convenience of having a home in L.A. doesn’t appeal to Maddon, maybe having the best player in Major League Baseball on his roster will. Though he’s only 28, Mike Trout has already firmly established himself as one of baseball’s all-time greats. Trout’s career OPS+, which accounts for his ability to get on base and his ability to hit for power, ranks only behind a handful of players in MLB history, including Babe Ruth. This season alone, Trout had 45 HRs, 104 RBI, and slashed .291/.438/.645. And he’s not going anywhere: Last offseason, Trout signed a $430 million 12-year deal with the Angels.

If Maddon joins the Angels now, the hope is that Terry Smith might have more reason to give his classic call, “Well Anaheim, you can put a Halo over this one,” in the near future.

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