ANAHEIM , Calif. — “Now, I’m legitimate,” Ron Washington said with a smile into the mic after putting on an Angels jersey for the first time, dawning a white number 37 jersey before posing for a photo-op with general manager Perry Minasian.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Angels officially presented Ron Washington as their new manager nearly two decades after he was hired to manage the Texas Rangers, where he remained from 2007-2014 and appeared in back-to back World Series in 2010-11.
At 71 years old, Washington is now the second active Black manager in the MLB along with Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts and becomes the Angels’ fourth full-time manager since the beginning of the 2018 season, the same season the Angels acquired 2021 AL MVP and current free agent Shohei Ohtani.
Our whole focus is going to be to run the West down. And you can take that to the bank and deposit itRon Washington
The Angels have not had a winning season since 2014 and have zero playoff appearances with Ohtani and former 3-time AL MVP winner Mike Trout on the roster since 2018, which has driven the rumblings that Ohtani is signing elsewhere this Winter.
Washington made it clear during his introductory press conference that his goal with the team is to enter the American League West crown picture again. “Once we get things together, and we get these guys together in spring training and start the work, our whole focus is going to be to run the West down. And you can take that to the bank and deposit it,” Washington said at the podium Wednesday.
Despite the “negativity,” or the “inside-out syndrome,” around the Angels organization as Washington put it, he hopes to lead by example.
“Everybody that’s on the outside, you’re just gonna have to wait and see what you’re getting. For everybody on the inside, they will know what will happen,” Washington said. “There will be nothing but positivity around here. We will make our way through all the negativity. There will be quite a few challenges and we won’t be afraid of that either.”
Minasian spoke to media afterwards and said the Angels have not yet rounded out the coaching staff for 2024 and there is no timetable for an announcement yet either.
When asked whether he views next season as a rebuilding a retooling one, Minasian reiterated Washington’s desire to contend.
“The goal hasn’t changed. Obviously, we’ve had a couple of rough years,” Minasian said. “The manager was enormous, it’s a huge hire and I did not take it lightly and building a coaching staff will be as.”
One of the lighter moments of the press conference was Washington describing how he found out he got the job and how his phone stopped him from knowing before everyone else.
“I left Wednesday morning from Arizona to get back to New Orleans and when I got off the plane, my phone charged fully and when I got off the plane I opened it up. It wouldn’t open up. So while I was waiting in the airport to get my luggage, I went and plugged it in. I still didn’t know I was managing yet. Now I’m announced as Manager, Los Angeles and then a phone popped on and when I opened it up, I was in disbelief.”
Washington added he had over 250 text messages and voicemails and he responded to “every single one of them.”
Although Washington hasn’t been in town for long, Minasian is looking toward retooling the roster and added Washington’s hire has drawn attention from potential free agents.
“As far as competing we’re going to be aggressive this offseason and make this team better,” Minasian said. “I’ve gotten numerous calls already of people that have played for him, people that know him. I’m not only excited for him and his opportunity but wouldn’t mind joining the party over here.”