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Opinion: Angels are no sure thing to land Joe Maddon as manager

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Opinion: Angels are no sure thing to land Joe Maddon as manager

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What I'm hearing: Sports reporter Bob Nightengale gives his predictions for the MLB individual awards.
USA TODAY

Someone would be surprised if Brad Ausmus, pushed through the door Monday by the Los Angeles Angelsreally tripped over the red carpet thrown at Joe Maddon while leaving the team parking lot on Monday afternoon?

Within minutes, well, maybe seconds of Ausmus's downfall, speculation began that Maddon, fired Sunday by the Chicago Cubs, will be the next manager of the Angels.

That's when Maddon began his career in 1975, working as a player, coach, scout and minor league coach for 31 years, and still has a home in Long Beach, California.

Joe Maddon has spent over three decades in the Angels organization. Is it time for them to get together? (Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

However, a senior executive told USA TODAY Sports on Monday that there is no candidate to replace Ausmus, and that the decision to dismiss him was made before the Cubs announced Maddon would not return.

The person requested anonymity because the team's plans are private.

So the Angels, who had a manager for 19 years, will look for their second manager in 12 months after firing Ausmus a year on his three-year contract.

If this all sounds familiar, it is because it is. In 2014, the Cubs fired manager Rick Renteria after a season when Maddon became available after an escape clause in his Tampa Bay Rays contract.

MADDON OUT: When the season with Cubs comes to an end, Joe Maddon has no regrets: & # 39; It was fabulous & # 39;

Except Ausmus, after enduring the worst Angels record (72-90) in 20 years, was down, regardless of what happened to Maddon.

Maddon will be brought in for an interview, but Joe Girardi, who worked with Angels GM's Billy Eppler at the New York Yankees. Buck Showalter, John Farrell and Ron Washington are also among the candidates. The Angels want a coach with experience in the major league, which means that John Farrell, Ozzie Guillen and Bo Porter may also be in the mix.

Still, Maddon is the agentless manager class award. The owner of the angels, Arte Moreno, shoots. And he loves his stars.

He spent $ 430 million to retain Mike Trout, paid $ 240 million for Albert Pujols and $ 125 million for Josh Hamilton.

So just because Maddon has made $ 28 million over the past five years with Cubs and would like to remain the highest paid manager of the game, Moreno won't stop now.

Maddon, 65, will have countless options. The New York Mets is due to fire manager Mickey Callaway this week. The Philadelphia Phillies have not yet decided the fate of coach Gabe Kapler. The San Diego Fathers already have a vacancy and list Maddon among their top candidates.

"There will be a bidding war for their services, and there must be," said Cubs President Theo Epstein. "He's in a great position."

If the contract offers are similar, with Maddon seeking a three to five year contract, where does he decide to go?

The Mets, where he can become a star like Joe Torre was with the Yankees, and inherit a team ready to win now with Jacob deGrom, Cy Young winner King Pete Alonso and an All-Stars club.

He returns home to Philadelphia, where he expects a star-studded formation, with an aggressive owner in John Middleton willing to spend to win a World Series?

He goes to Anaheim, where he spent three decades of his life, following in the footsteps of his close friend and mentor, Mike Scioscia, but knowing that the team is failing even with the best player in the game at Trout.

Does he want to replicate what he did in Tampa, head to San Diego, where the Fathers have one of the game's deepest collections of young talent, and prove that small-market teams can beat all odds, even in a split with the powerful Dodgers?

"Wherever I go, I believe we will win," said Maddon, "so I'm not always worried about that. My criteria involve going where someone really wants you. That's number 1. & # 39; & # 39;

And, yes, he may be the oldest manager of the game, but he's not ready to stop until he is 70.

"I think I have a solid minimum of three to five," he said. "Mick Jagger rocked Soldier (Field) at 75 or 76, so all of these things are pertinent to me and motivate me."

Let the bidding begin.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale

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