Don Baylor, the 1979 American League MVP with the California Angel has returned to his old club as hitting coach. he has left this same position with the Arizona Diamondbacks to assume the Los Angeles batting instructor duties of Anaheim.
Baylor has managerial experience and it is not a stretch to see him as a potential midseason replacement to Mike Scioscia should the Grand Catorce stumble out of the gates doing the 6-14 shuffle.
Jerry Dipoto's mark on this move is very clear as he has pulled former Diamondbacks into the organization like a kid grabbing seashells at Huntington Beach after high tide. Baylor is by far the biggest big-leaguer to ever appear on a Mike Scioscia coaching staff and has more managerial experience than anyone Scioscia has ever worked with.
Baylor managed the Rockies for six complete seasons - taking them to the Wild Card in 1995 where they lost to the eventual World Champion Braves in the NLDS. He managed the Cubs for two and a half seasons but they are the Cubs so don't blame him. When he managed the Rockies, guess who was one of his players? Yep - scrub reliever Jerry DiPoto !!!!
How hard will it be to look good in this position? A healthy Albert Pujols, a no-doubt Mike Trout and a Josh Hamilton who cannot seemingly get any worse are prime to combine for more offense than they did in 2014.
This move might signal an organizational decision to stick with trade-able Mark Trumbo. If a batting coach can help him maximize his ht streaks and minimize those cold stretches, the Angels would have an all star slugger on their hands.
And getting into a groove to carry a club was what Don Baylor was all about in his years in Anaheim. In an era of sabermetric poo-poohing the glitzy RBI numbers look bland, but nobody ignited the first Angels division winners quite like Don Baylor. A horrible fielder, he made up for it and more with a sweet-stroke bat that drive in 139 runs on 36 HR with a .296 batting average.
Does that sound like a good Trumbomb 2014? Let's hope Kid Katella is Koachable and that the Groove is back and contagious on State College Boulevard next year!