Scioscia 'thrilled' to return in '18, a contract year

Scioscia 'thrilled' to return in '18, a contract year

ANAHEIM -- Mike Scioscia will return to manage the Angels in 2018, but his future with the organization is unclear beyond that.

Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in baseball, will be entering the final season of the 10-year deal he signed with the Angels in January 2009, but he said Monday that he is simply focused on 2018 and would be "absolutely" fine with managing without the promise of a contract beyond next year.

"I am extremely excited about next year," Scioscia said during a meeting with the media at Angel Stadium. "I am thrilled to be coming back. I wouldn't be coming back unless [general manager] Billy [Eppler] and [owner] Arte [Moreno] had confidence in my ability in the dugout and with the team, so I'm excited about it. That's it."

Eppler echoed Scioscia and said he plans to leave those conversations for a later date.

"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. That's solely what our whole mindset is right now. He's comfortable with that. I'm comfortable with that. Arte is comfortable with that."

Scioscia, 58, has skippered the Angels since 2000, guiding the franchise to its only World Series championship, six American League West titles and winning two Manager of the Year Awards. Under his leadership, the Angels have gone 1,570-1,346 and posted a .538 winning percentage over the last 18 seasons.

But the Angels have not won a postseason game since 2009 and have only one playoff appearance since then, which culminated in a sweep at the hands of the Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series. They are coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in Scioscia's tenure, going 74-88 in 2016 and 80-82 in 2017.

Much of those struggles are linked to the injuries that have decimated the Angels' rotation over the last two years, though the club managed to stay in the Wild Card hunt until the 158th game this season and were the final AL team eliminated from contention.

"I am extremely disappointed at us not reaching our goal," Scioscia said. "As a manager, you take that responsibility, and it's difficult. I think our whole staff as a group, we prepared. We put our hearts and souls into it. I haven't had the chance to deconstruct the season to see what evaluations we made as a staff maybe didn't work out and which ones weren't on the money, but I can already tell you that I am, from a personal level, disappointed that we didn't get there because I had a lot of confidence in the guys. They played hard."

Eppler, for his part, commended the work that Scioscia and his coaching staff did in 2017.

"I can tell you Mike and his staff have elite-level preparation," Eppler said. "No stone is unturned with those guys. No doubt we are both disappointed that we're sitting here today. We wanted to be in New York, or even better playing that [Wild Card] game here. We wanted to be playing tomorrow, and we're not."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.