Angels, Reds hire ex-major leaguers Ausmus, Bell to manage
Both given 3-year contracts by clubs fresh off losing seasons
The Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds filled their managerial voids Sunday, hiring former major league players Brad Ausmus and David Bell, respectively.
In Anaheim, Calif., Ausmus moves from the Angels' front office after serving as special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler this season. Previously, he spent four seasons as manager of the Detroit Tigers.
Ausmus, who signed a three-year contract with the Angels, will be introduced at Angel Stadium on Monday.
He replaces Mike Scioscia, who had held the job since the 2000 season, winning the Angels' only World Series title and becoming the winningest manager in franchise history. He left the club earlier this month after 19 seasons and 1,650 victories.
After finishing 80-82 for the second consecutive year, Los Angeles is coming off three straight losing seasons overall for the first time since 1992-94. Los Angeles has played only three post-season games in the past nine seasons, losing them all in 2014 after winning the American League West.
Ausmus, 49, likely represents a philosophical shift from Scioscia, who was widely perceived as an old-school manager despite his public embrace of new baseball mentalities.
Losing run in Detroit
After Scioscia's departure three weeks ago, Eppler said he wanted the Angels' 17th manager to be well-versed in analytics and probability-based decision-making. Ausmus was not known to be thoroughly reliant on data during his up-and-down tenure in Detroit, but he clearly sold Eppler and owner Arte Moreno on his willingness to evolve into the modern manager that the Angels want.
"Ultimately, Brad's balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision-making led us to him," Eppler said in a statement. "We believe his knowledge, drive and growth-mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization."
Ausmus, who managed the Tigers from 2014-17, won 90 games and the AL Central during his first season, but went just 314-332 in his tenure.
His contract wasn't renewed after the Tigers went 64-98 in 2017, embarking on a franchise rebuild during the season. Ausmus was praised for his personnel management, but was not considered an analytics-first decision-maker -- and the Dartmouth graduate was criticized for faults often attributed to old-school skippers, including overuse of starting pitchers and an adherence to rigid roles for his relievers.
Both Ausmus and the Angels haven't been in the playoffs since 2014, but they'll try to get back together.
1 playoff appearance in 9 seasons
Ausmus played 18 major league seasons with four franchises as a catcher, including 10 years with the Houston Astros before his final two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009-10. He is 11th in baseball history with 1,766 games started as a catcher, and he is third in baseball history among catchers with 12,839 putouts.
The Angels hadn't hired a new manager since November 1999, when Scioscia took over a franchise that had made only three playoff appearances in 39 seasons of existence. Scioscia ushered in the Angels' golden age in 2002 when he led a wild card playoff team to the title, beating the San Francisco Giants in a seven-game World Series.
The Angels made six playoff appearances in an eight-year stretch, winning five AL West titles. But after reaching the ALCS in 2009, the Angels have had just one 90-win campaign and one playoff appearance in the ensuing nine years.
Bell brings wealth of experience to Cincy
Bell, the 63rd manager in Reds' history, will be tasked with helping turn around a team that skidded to a 67-95 record and last-place finish in the National League Central.
The Reds said Sunday he has been given a three-year contract that includes a team option for 2022. The 46-year-old Cincinnati native will be introduced at a news conference Monday.
The Reds fired Bryan Price after a 3-15 start, and Jim Riggleman was interim manager for the rest of the season.
4th father-son duo to serve as skippers
Bell was a minor league manager for the Reds from 2009-12, became the Chicago Cubs' third base coach in 2013, St. Louis' assistant hitting coach the following year and the Cardinals' bench coach for the next three years. He was San Francisco's vice-president of player development last season.
Bell and his father, Reds front-office executive Buddy, become the fourth father-son duo to serve as major league managers, joining George and Dick Sisler, Bob and Joel Skinner, and Bob and Aaron Boone. Buddy Bell managed the Detroit Tigers (1996-1998), Colorado Rockies (2000-2002) and Kansas City Royals (2005-2007).
A former infielder, Bell was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 1990 draft and made his major league debut in 1995. He played parts of 12 seasons in the majors with the Indians, Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.
With files from The Associated Press