After missing out on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ managerial position, Ron Roenicke returned to the Los Angeles Angels, resuming a role on Mike Scioscia’s staff that he held from 2000-2010 (before becoming the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager). During his previous tenure in Anaheim, Roenicke served as third base coach and bench coach under Scioscia.
Of great importance to Roenicke, he told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez earlier this week, is the role of ‘experience’ on a major-league coaching staff. Some clubs (such as the Dodgers did with Dave Roberts and had done a few years before with Don Mattingly) entrust individuals with little-to-no professional managerial experience to run a club…but that’s not an idea Roenicke really understands.
To his relief, new Angels’ GM Billy Eppler seems to be on the same page ideologically:
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“Some people don't think experience is important, and I think, with the conversation I had with Billy, the things that he had to say were right in line with the way I think,” Roenicke said in a phone conversation on Monday, six days after returning from a Caribbean vacation. “I know Mike has also been really impressed with the conversations that he's had so far with him.”
To hear him tell it, Roenicke doesn’t quite understand the concept of giving someone with no managerial experience a full-time obligation to do just that:
“It's one thing to hire a coach that has gone through the Minor Leagues managing or coaching, or in the big leagues has coached for a while. … If you give that guy an opportunity to manage, I think that's great,” said Roenicke, who mentioned Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach as deserving future candidates.
“But a guy that has never put on a uniform before and coached? No, I don't believe in that. I think you're missing a lot. Now, will he eventually get there? Yeah. Maybe in five years, he becomes a really good manager, I don't know. But there's a learning curve. And to think that there isn't a learning curve is disturbing to me.”
The palpable disconnect between Scioscia and now-Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto was a key factor in Dipoto’s resignation last summer. Within that context, it’s easy to see why Roenicke – given his particular belief system – wanted to make sure Eppler was on the same page upon returning to the Halos.