ANAHEIM — To the surprise of no one, except perhaps the most pessimistic and frustrated Angels fans, Mike Scioscia will be managing the team again in 2018.
Beyond that, however, is unknown.
As Scioscia and general manager Billy Eppler met with the media on Monday to discuss the season past and the offseason ahead, both agreed that now is not the time to discuss what happens beyond the final year of Scioscia’s 10-year contract.
Scioscia said he is “absolutely” content to manage the team without a contract beyond next year.
Asked if he wants to manage the Angels in 2019, Scioscia said he’s focused solely on 2018: “I am extremely excited about next year. I am thrilled to be coming back. I wouldn’t be coming back unless I thought that Billy and (owner Arte Moreno) had confidence in my ability in the dugout. I’m excited about it. That’s it.”
Eppler also said he’s comfortable leaving the future for another time.
“The focus is on 2018,” Eppler said. “We’ll discuss business beyond that at an appropriate time. We’re not focused on ’19. We’re focused on ’18. He’s comfortable with that. I’m comfortable with that. Arte is comfortable with that.”
Although it’s possible the Angels could work out an extension with Scioscia at some point later in the offseason or even during the 2018 season, it seems that both sides are also willing to just play out the deal and see what happens.
Scioscia, 58, is the longest tenured manager in the majors, having taken over the Angels prior to the 2000 season. He won a World Series in 2002, and has won the Manager of the Year award twice. The Angels have a 1,570-1,346 record under Scioscia, including six division titles and seven trips to the postseason.
However, the Angels have reached the postseason only once since 2009, a three-game cameo in 2014 when they were swept by the Kansas City Royals. The Angels just completed their first back-to-back losing seasons under Scioscia, winning 74 games in 2016 and 80 in 2017.
While that drought certainly has many Angels fans frustrated and feeling the team is due for a change, most outside, impartial, observers do not hold Scioscia responsible for the team’s recent struggles.
The team’s current predicament is because of a poor farm system — the result of trades, poor drafts and picks surrendered for free agents — and a payroll that was bloated by deals that didn’t work, most notably the Josh Hamilton contract. Also, the rotation has been…