Ron Washington and Preparing the Los Angeles Angels for the Season

Ron Washington Speaking at the Winter Meetings

Ron Washington and Preparing the Angels for the Season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 4) — Since the Los Angeles Angels hired Ron Washington November 8 to be their manager, he has set out to build a contender. That came with selecting a staff and getting connected with the current players. Monday at the Winter Meetings, he addressed the media about his progress and his philosophy.

“I Just Want Them to Lead”

Washington spoke with Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout after being hired. Those conversations went “extremely well.” Washington liked “the excitement in their voices” and “the fact that they can’t wait to get to spring training and get going.”

With Rendon he spoke about health. So far, Rendon is having “a great winter as far as his health goes.” In spring training, they will strive to keep Rendon “on the program that will keep him able to be on the field.” While Washington spoke to Rendon, he “(made) certain that he can get himself to the point where he can become Rendon again. If we can get him to the point where he can become Rendon again, that’s a winner. He’s been a winner.”

Washington wants both of them to lead the team. He feels great about their leadership, especially when looking at the history of their careers. He went more in depth, saying, “Leading happens in many ways. You know, you lead with your presence. You lead with your performance. I want them to understand when they’re not performing, just lead with your presence. They will perform, so I just want them to lead with their presence. That’s where we are headed to right now. Trying to get them to the point of showing up and just lead. Just lead.”

Washington added that the players don’t have to do it by themselves. They also have him, the coaching staff, the rest of the players, and the organization to back them. “I just want them to lead,” he reiterated. “Where the pressure has to be taken off, we’ll take it off. I just want them to lead.”

Ron Washington Has the Personnel to “Compete Every Night”

Washington said the Angels “have the personnel to go out and compete every night.” He continued, “Through competing every single night, we just have to learn how to sustain. We have to learn how to be consistent, which is the game of baseball. When we learn how to be consistent, and through the consistency we start the sustaining, we’ll be past those years when they weren’t doing well.”

But the Angels certainly face a tall order being in the AL West with the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, who have made the ALCS each of the last seven years. According to Washington, the way to catch up with those teams is as simple as “playing good baseball.” He explained, “They play good baseball. So now we match their baseball, and once we get to the point where we can match their baseball, that’s what I mean about running them down.”

Washington feels the Angels will match the games of the Rangers and Astros at some point. Then the Angels will have their opponents where they want them. Washington explained, “It’s not the best team that wins every night. It’s the team that plays the best. And all my senses have to be that we’re going to be the best team tonight and go out there and play the way the game asks us to play and what it asks us to do.”

Washington doesn’t care if the opponent is the better team. All that matters to him is that his team played the best in the three or four games in that series.

“No Rebuild Here”

Washington bluntly said, “There ain’t no rebuild here.” But he also isn’t thinking about the division. What he’s thinking about is preparation. “Once we get prepared and ready for the season,” he proclaimed, “I’m ready for whatever comes in front of us.

“My players will be ready for whatever comes in front of us. That’s the attitude you’ve got to have in the game of baseball, and then you take it a day at a time.

“As long as you answer the questions that the game asks of you (in the night you’re playing), I think you’ll be able to move forward. If it so happens when we get five or six, seven, eight months from today and we win a division, then I can talk. But right now, it’s about preparation, understanding how to sustain. Understanding how to be consistent in the game of baseball. Not taking any part of the game of baseball for granted.

“Be prepared for every part. We’re going to be fine, and that’s the only way I’m thinking right now.”


The press conference ended with a reporter asking how much attention he’s giving to the Shohei Ohtani free agency. Washington diplomatically stated, “I don’t have much to say about that yet because I don’t want to let anything out the bag.”

That obviously raised the question of whether there is anything to let out of the bag. Washington smiled and repeated, “I don’t have much to say about that yet because I don’t want to let anything out the bag.”

Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings continue Tuesday and will conclude Wednesday with the Rule Five Draft. Check back with Sport Relay for more coverage.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

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