There’s a new manager in Anaheim.
It’s a move back into a baseball position that Washington has wanted to make for several years. Washington last managed the Texas Rangers from 2007-14. During the 2022 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, Washington told The Times that he wanted to manage again, no matter the circumstances of any prospective team that might call on him.
“Wherever [the opportunity] is, I’m gon’ build,” Washington said at the time.
Washington, 71, from New Orleans, has worked as the third base coach of the Atlanta Braves since the 2017 season. The Braves have been in the playoffs every season since 2018, winning the World Series in 2021.
“He’s great. Tremendous. Outstanding. You're not gonna find better,” Alex Anthopoulos, Braves president of baseball operations and general manager, said of Washington.
Washington and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers are the only Black managers in the majors, after Dusty Baker retired from his position with the Houston Astros last month. Washington replaces Phil Nevin, whose contract for next season was not picked up by the Angels.
On Tuesday, Angels general manager Perry Minasian said at the GM meetings that he was not rushing the managerial search, but “when we find the right person, we find the right person.”
A quality Minasian said he was looking for was someone who could command the respect of a clubhouse. Those at the GM meetings, upon learning of Washington’s hire by the Angels, said he had that quality about him.
“A guy who’s won, high-energy, level of respect is off the charts,” Anthopoulos said. “Someone that players will go through a wall for… I can guarantee you, as word is spreading today, Angels players are incredibly excited and Braves players are incredibly sad.”
Said one sports agent who spoke on condition of anonymity: “I think it’s a great hire. Just from hearing from some of the players I’m hearing from, they’re all excited. I can see it being a positive thing for [their free-agent market].”
USA Today and the Athletic on Tuesday revealed that Washington was interviewing for the position that night.
Washington comes to the Angels having a familiarity with Minasian and his family. Minasian and Washington overlapped in their respective tenures with the Rangers and Braves — Minasian worked for the Braves from 2017 until his hire by the Angels in November 2020 and for the Rangers from 2007-08.
Washington was a major league infielder who made his debut with the Dodgers in 1977, but is best known for his time with the Minnesota Twins. His career also brought him to Cleveland, Baltimore and Houston, the last major league team he played for.
After his playing career, he worked in the minor leagues as a coach and manager from 1991-95, getting his first major league coaching job with the Oakland Athletics as their first base coach in 1996.
Washington got his first managerial opportunity with the Rangers on Nov. 5, 2006, succeeding Buck Showalter — who was also a finalist for the Angels job.
The Rangers won two American League pennants in that time, losing the World Series both times and making three postseason trips total with Washington at the helm. In 2010, he admitted to cocaine use and offered his resignation, though the Rangers did not want him to leave.
He unexpectedly resigned from his position with the Rangers with about a month left in the 2014 season, later stating that his decision to leave was because he had been unfaithful to his wife.
After leaving Texas, his next major league opportunity came in a return to the A's in 2015 as a special instructor, later in the season becoming their third base coach.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.