Angels Extend Collins’ Contract
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Anaheim Angels’ response to the team’s free fall in the AL West was to give manager Terry Collins a contract extension Tuesday.
``He was the right guy to turn this thing around a few years ago, and he’s still the right guy, general manager Bill Bavasi said. ``Our problems right now are that we’re not hitting.
``We started working on this in the spring. We’re happy to have this taken care of, and I’m sure Terry’s happy to have it taken care of.″
The length of the extension was not made public, but negotiations reportedly were for two more years through 2001 with a team option for 2002. Collins received a similar deal when he came to Anaheim in 1997 after Houston fired him.
Anaheim lost five of six on an East Coast trip and began Tuesday last in the AL West at 30-38, 8 1/2 games behind division-leading Texas.
``I know none of us in the clubhouse are satisfied with the result so far this season,″ Collins said. ``Myself, the coaches and players are responsible for getting back on track, and we will.″
Talk of player dissatisfaction with Collins’ style surfaced in late May, then quieted. The team had a 45-minute meeting last week in Toronto after a 13-2 loss.
``The contract issue is a dead issue,″ Bavasi said. ``The issue of player complaints was a dead issue a long time ago.″
Bavasi said the complaints, which he declined to divulge, didn’t take long to deal with.
``As employers, we have a responsibility to listen and evaluate. This time, in about 15 minutes, we decided their complaints weren’t worth worrying about,″ he said.
The players seemed to take sides, at least for a brief period, after several unidentified Angels went to Bavasi with complaints about Collins’ managing style.
``All said and done,″ Bavasi said, ``it was kind of refreshing to have a much larger group of guys on our club more hard-edged and with a desire to win, who far outnumber the soft-guys.″
Anaheim thought it would contend after signing Mo Vaughn to an $80 million, six-year contract in November, but Vaughn was hurt on opening day, just one of many injuries on the Angels.
Shortstop Gary DiSarcina hasn’t played this year after breaking his left forearm in the spring, and sluggers Tim Salmon and Jim Edmonds also are sidelined for extended periods, leaving Anaheim without one-third its normal lineup.
``People talk about curses, things like that,″ Vaughn said. ``Things just happen. Sometimes things get hard. The main thing is, no one out there is going to let up because the Angels have injuries. I don’t like to talk about injuries too much. The other teams don’t care.″
DiSarcina broke his arm when hit by a fungo bat in February and may be back this week. Cleanup hitter Salmon also is expected back soon after spraining his left wrist diving for a fly ball May 3. Gold Glove center fielder Edmonds won’t play until at least August after shoulder surgery last month.
``All four years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen a team decimated like this one is,″ second baseman Randy Velarde said. ``We lost guys for months, or a year, at a time.″
Collins’ overall record with the Angels is 198-191.