Though the impending free agency of Shohei Ohtani remains the biggest story of the offseason in Anaheim, the club parted ways with manager Phil Nevin at the end of the 2023 campaign, leading the club to begin a search for his replacement. The search has already turned up a handful of candidates including recently-fired Mets manager Buck Showalter, who has both expressed interest in the job and seen that interest reciprocated by Angels brass. Infield coach Benji Gil and longtime Angels outfielder Darin Erstad have also previously been floated as potential candidates for the position.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale provided an update on the club's managerial search this morning, and in doing so put forth three more candidates: five-time All Star Torii Hunter, who patrolled the outfield in Anaheim for five seasons; 1993 Rookie of the Year Tim Salmon, who spent his entire 14-year big league career with the Angels; and veteran coach Ron Roenicke, who spent seven seasons as a third base coach in Anaheim under Mike Scioscia.
Nightengale gives particular mention to Hunter, noting that the 48-year-old is “tremendously regarded” by Angels owner Arte Moreno. Moreno is known to be among the most hands-on owners in the game, so his endorsement would surely be a notable piece of any managerial candidate's resume. That being said, Hunter lacks experience in the dugout beyond his playing career, which would conflict with the Angels' previously-reported preference for an experienced manager to take over in Nevin's stead. Salmon faces a similar roadblock, though he's served as head coach of Scottsdale Christian Academy in Phoenix since 2015.
If the Angels are valuing experience in their managerial search, Roenicke certainly fits the bill. In addition to his aforementioned tenure with the Angels as a third base coach and an eight-year playing career in the majors, the 67-year-old has served as manager for both the Brewers and Red Sox in the past, while also serving as a coach with the Dodgers and in Boston throughout his post-playing career. He currently serves as a special assistant in the Dodgers' front office. Nightengale suggests that Roenicke, along with Gil and Showalter, may be in line for formal interviews with the club. It's unclear if Hunter would also be in line for a potential interview, though Nightengale reports Erstad and Salmon's candidacies as merely having been “discussed” by Angels brass.
Whoever ultimately takes the reins of the Angels dugout this offseason, they'll have their work cut out for them in 2024. The Angels finished with identical 73-89 records in both 2022 and 2023, and are at risk of losing a superstar, two-way talent in Ohtani this offseason. Even if the club manages to retain Ohtani, he won't pitch in 2024, leaving the club with a vacancy at the front of the rotation on top of holes to fill in the bullpen. While the club has a solid position player group, it lacks depth that is particularly necessary for a club that's seen frequent trips to the injured list for Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and other veteran players in recent seasons.