May 18, 2024

Torii Hunter is not going to manage the Angels next season. He is not going to coach for the Angels next season.

He is perfectly happy about that. He was enthused about interviewing for the managerial job. He is delighted for the manager they hired, Ron Washington.

“I always respected him,” Hunter said Monday. “He was always imparting something on me, and he was on the other team. He always gave me something to inspire me.

“If anybody is fit for that job, it’s Ron Washington.”

Hunter spoke at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast before a fundraiser for Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton. Hunter, a five-time All-Star, retired in 2015 and has not managed in the major or minor leagues.

“I would have been inexperienced as far as the position,” he said, “but I’ve been managing my whole life.”

If the Angels had hired him, Hunter said, he would have hired experienced coaches. His experience, he said, came in the clubhouse leadership and presence he honed in the final decade of his 19-year major league career.

“I managed players in the clubhouse,” he said. “I had to do it. I had to get to know them personally, to know what was going on in their life. Because slumping has nothing to do, really, with baseball. The majority of times, slumping has something to do with your mind-set, your family issues, your sleep, jet lag.

“I’ve been managing players for a long time, because I had to manage myself too. Imparting things to players, getting the best out of them? That’s a gift. That’s what I do.”

Hunter declined to share his pitch to ownership and management for how he would have revived the Angels.

“It’s a secret,” he said with a smile. “It’s a secret sauce.”

He did dispute the suggestion that the Angels job might not be a good one. The Angels have not posted a winning record in eight years.

They have not won a postseason game in 14 years, when Hunter was their center fielder. That is the longest such drought in the league, and superstar Shohei Ohtani is a free agent and considered unlikely to return.

“I like the challenge,” Hunter said. “I’d rather be uncomfortable than comfortable. If I inherit a team that’s already good, what is that going to do? The Angels have had some trials and tribulations. They have had some injuries. They have had some different philosophies. They’ve had experience and still not won.

“I love the Angels. I never wanted to leave. It’s my adopted home. They adopted me. They raised me. That was the only reason why I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to interview for this job.’ ”

Hunter said he was astounded by a report last week that said he would be the Angels’ first-base coach. At that point, he said, no one from the Angels had even asked him about that.

Since then, he said the Angels did reach out to see if he might be interested in coaching in general. Hunter lives in Texas and runs a business empire that includes five barbecue restaurants, two coffee shops, a bakery, and commercial real estate holdings, so he declined for now.

“I was interviewed for the managerial job,” he said. “I didn’t get it. It’s cool.

“I thank the Angels for allowing me to get interviewed.”

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