Whoa, this guy doesn't waste any time ingratiating himself with a vocal portion of the fan base. In a surprise move Tuesday, the Angels' newly minted general manager, Billy Eppler, announced via press release that he was not bringing pitching coach Mike Butcher back for the 2016 season. Mike Butcher has been a Mike Scioscia goodfella since 2006, and drew the ire of many fans when murmurs of his overbearing coaching style ruining many good arms in Anaheim. Even without behind the scenes evidence of anything like this going on, one could see it on the baseball field, as pitchers would leave the clutches of Mike and Mike, and find himself reborn on the hill. Many have called for the Butcher to be taken to the chopping block, and Billy Eppler sent him to the slaughter.
Also a surprise casualty today was the similar firing of hitting coach Don Baylor. Baylor had only been with the team a couple seasons, and was most known in his coaching stint as the guy who got his leg broken by Vladimir Guerrero. Of the news, Eppler was ever the professional in kicking these grumpy galoots to the curb:
"These are good baseball men and individuals who have a deep passion and focus towards their craft. I am both respectful and appreciative of the many contributions Don and Mike have made to this organization in their careers here."
There wasn't any comment from Baylor, but Mike Butcher mentions in the press release that he met with John Carpino and Billy Eppler days ago, and they discussed going in a different direction at that time. See ya Butcher...keep dialing up those sliders you love so much.
So, we have our first surprise of the off season. A pleasant one, at that, although while your Mike Butcher hate may flow freely, you're probably more indifferent about Baylor. Neither one will be missed, I imagine, and there are many fine candidates out there that can do the job.
Of course, the big question in the back of everyone's minds: What does ol' Papa Sosh think? First shot fired from the new Red Polo? Or maybe he was in on the hit himself?