One has a better career winning percentage, the other has more than 1200 career wins and a world series ring. Both are former managers of the year.
The former is Dave Roberts; the latter is Joe Maddon. Roberts secured his job this offseason despite having his franchise-record 106-win team lose in five games in the NLDS to the Washington Nationals. Maddon lost his job after an 84-win season.
While Roberts has won over 100 games twice now in his four-year career with the Dodgers, Maddon had never lost less than 90 games since his tenure with the Chicago Cubs began five years ago.
Really, Maddon probably could have managed the Cubs to bigger and better things, even despite his poor season. Hopefully, the same will never happen to Roberts if he loses more than 72 games.
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But now that both had run-ins with being fired (though of course only one actually got canned), both are working for teams that claim to be from Los Angeles. Of course, as all real Dodgers fans know, there is only one team that owns LA, and it is not the Angels of Anaheim.
Maddon is the newest manager of an Angels team marred by the opioid crisis and the loss of beloved teammate Tyler Skaggs from the 2019 season. Additionally, the Angels have not won a playoff series since Mike Trout came up to the major league level for the Halos, despite his being the consensus best player in the world for most of his career.
So now that the Angels have the man widely regarded as the best manager in the modern era, a consistent MVP-candidate, and the best two-way player in the game today in 2018 Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani, can they compete with the Dodgers to be the best baseball franchise in the LA area?
More than likely not, the answer is no. But maybe they’ll be able to win a championship first? It wouldn’t be the first time Maddon turned around a struggling team and earned a championship, as he did with the Cubs. It also wouldn’t be the first time he’d been in the World Series at the helm of an American League team. While with the Tampa Bay Rays, he won 90+ games in five of his nine seasons as manager.
The Angels really just need depth to make a run at one of the two AL Wild Card slots, while the Dodgers have to compete with an expanding payroll and a young core that did not shine in the playoffs.
While the Dodgers are certainly slated to be the better team for the next few seasons, Maddon is known to be able to do a lot with very little, and that may be all the help Trout and the Angels need to win their second championship of the 2000s.