For the first time in what feels like a century, we finally got some news regarding what the Angels will look like in 2022 on Wednesday coming in the form of some new faces to the coaching ranks. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Halos are planning to hire Phil Nevin, Benji Gil and Bill Haselman to manager Joe Maddon’s staff.
Adam Eaton, Angels coach? Story: https://t.co/yZ4Ki8UILl— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 5, 2022
It was previously reported that Nevin was someone that the Halos had interest in hiring, and according to Rosenthal’s newest piece, it appears that him joining the club next season is all but a done deal now. The Fullerton native and former Angels infielder had served as the Yankees third-base coach for the last four seasons before parting ways with them back in October, and he worked in the same role for one season with the Giants before that. Rosenthal mentioned that Nevin’s role hasn’t yet been officially finalized, but one look at his Twitter page will tell you that he’ll be filling the same position he had in the Bronx and replacing Brian Butterfield as the team’s third-base coach.
The other two names that Rosenthal mentioned hadn’t been linked to the club’s coaching vacancies at all before today. Gil, also a former Angels player, has never been a part of a major-league coaching staff before, but he has been a manager in Mexico since 2014. He had previously been with both the Tomateros de Culiacán of the Mexican Pacific League and the Mariachis de Guadalajara of the Mexican League, and he also managed the Mexican Olympic team during last year’s Summer Games. His role with the Angels next season is yet to be determined as of now.
Haselman was most recently with the Oklahoma City Dodgers—the AAA affiliate of the Halos’ crosstown rivals—as their bench coach, and he’ll be joining the Angels as their new catching instructor, replacing José Molina. He has previous experience on a major-league coaching staff from when he served as the Red Sox’ first-base coach back in 2006, and he spent the better part of a decade working as a minor-league manager, including with the Inland Empire 66ers, the Angels’ then-High A affiliate, from 2012 to 2013.
Played for and against all three of these men. All three are amazing. Angels may have the best coaching staff in baseball. https://t.co/ycUw1vsPeX— Cody Decker (@Decker6) January 5, 2022
Beyond those three, perhaps the most interesting part of Rosenthal’s story is the fact that Adam Eaton is mentioned as a potential candidate for one of the final remaining coaching positions. Eaton, of course, played for the Angels just last season, signing with the club on July 14 and playing 25 games for them before being released on August 20. He apparently left a good impression on Maddon and the rest of the higher-ups in the organization during his brief stint in Anaheim, though, so much so that they’re willing to consider him for a role as a coach despite his lack of experience in that regard.
There is a roadblock to bringing Eaton back into the fold, however, that being the current lockout that has been ongoing since the beginning of December. According to Rosenthal, the Angels want to continue discussions that they had with Eaton earlier in the offseason, but because he played and became a free agent last year during the now-expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, he is still a member of the players’ union and therefore cannot officially communicate with any team officials. The union reportedly doesn’t agree that Eaton should be barred from discussing things with the Angels, but since he was placed by the league on the list of free agents covered by the lockout, he and the club remain in a holding pattern of sorts until things are figured out.
Rosenthal doesn’t officially say what role Eaton would fill if officially hired by the Angels, but the most likely position appears to be first-base coach, as a potential replacement for Bruce Hines has not yet materialized since talks with former Padres coach Wayne Kirby fell through. It is mentioned that current bench coach Mike Gallego might return to coaching the bases in 2022, though, so it is a possibility that Eaton could fill his role as the new bench coach if that happens.