Tony Reagins Named the Angels’ GM

Tony Reagins succeeds Bill Stoneman as the Angels’ general manager.

Twenty-four hours ago, when the news broke that Bill Stoneman would retire today as the Angels’ general manager, the early speculation was split on his successor. The likely candidate was assistant general manager Ken Forsch, a former major leaguer, although some media reported rumors that farm director Tony Reagins would get the job.

I figured it would be Forsch, since he has such a long and impressive career — he played in the major leagues, he ran the farm system at one time, and he’s been Stoneman’s right-hand man for eight years.

It turned out to be Reagins.

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, Forsch has the far superior resumé. So I’m looking forward to the newspaper reports which might explain why Reagins got the offer.

The press conference was streamed on the web site. A tearful Stoneman was overcome by emotion many times. Reagins then came to the stage, apparently moved by Stoneman’s breakdown, and commented, "This is a family."

Reagins thanked those who’d helped him along the way, said that Forsch and special assistant Gary Sutherland would remain, and then the media asked a few questions.

When asked when he was first approached about the job, Tony said it was a week ago. Moreno contacted him to talk about the position. Left unsaid was whether others were interviewed or even considered.

One reporter asked Moreno whether this move meant manager Mike Scioscia would have more say on player personnel decisions. Arte said yes, a surprising answer, because the expected answer would be that Reagins is in charge.

It may be that they’re going to a model similar to how the farm system was run the last few years. Although Reagins was nominally the decision-maker, in reality he relied heavily on field coordinator Bruce Hines, his roving instructors, his manager and coaches. Reagins never played the game professionally, has no more than a little scouting experience, made no draft-day decisions (that was Eddie Bane’s department) and to my knowledge has never even spent time in a dugout during a regular season game. He may have managed the farm system, but he didn’t teach. That was left to the professionals.

So Reagins may be leaning heavily on Scioscia, Forsch, Sutherland, a consulting Stoneman, and everyone else on the Baseball Operations side of the business.

Don’t expect the organizational philosophy to change. They’re not going to be tricked into buying the Moneyball snake oil. They’re not going to flush the farm system for a quick fix. They’re not going to blow the payroll to spend "whatever it takes" to get Alex Rodriguez.

The unknown in my mind is when Reagins is across the table from other GMs or agents like Scott Boras. Stoneman showed the patience and discipline not to give in to tempation and instant gratification. Without a strong background, Reagins may feel he needs to make a splash with some sort of spectacular move that gets him headlines for a few days but in the long run may harm the organization’s long-term interests.

Despite what a few nuts are claiming on fan boards, this organization from top to bottom is in the best shape of its 47-year existence. It doesn’t need to fixed, much less overhauled. The Colorado Rockies have proven how stupid it would be to flush the farm or blow the budget. (More on that in a later blog entry.) Reagins may need to be no more than a caretaker for the next few years and reap the harvest from the player development system he’d managed since 2002.

One comment


    “Fear” and “trepidation” don’t quite cover the raw terror I’m experiencing right now. I realize it’s trendy to hire brilliant young guns to run your club but passing over a solid baseball man (along with Stephen’s observation of Arte’s answer that Scioscia would have more personnel control) like Forsch looks like this was a way to hire a “yes” man into the position. I hope I’m wrong but my fear is that a schism may have developed between Stoneman and Moreno last winter when Moreno’s promise of a spectacular personnel move did not come to fruition. Stoneman, of course, was proven correct in that pitching and depth were more important than overpaying some burned out has-been.

    I just hope flash doesn’t win out over content. I’ve kinda liked winning this decade. It’s, like, better than losing has been all the years BS (before Stoneman).

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