The front office of the Los Angeles Angels is going through some change as GM Tony Reagins has resigned his post following the second-straight season without a playoff berth. Reagins will remain with the club as an assistant to club chairman Dennis Kuhl.
The Angels have transformed from a team that couldn’t get over the hump to a perennial powerhouse over the last decade. Manager Mike Scioscia guided the club to its first World Series title in 2002 and owner Arte Moreno came aboard in 2003. Much success has followed and the perception of the franchise has been lifted to that of one that does shrewd business and stays competitive.
Missing the playoffs for the second year in a row was something that hadn’t happened in 10 years in Anaheim. An 86-win season and a second-place finish is cause for action for this ambitious club. To see division rival Texas get into the World Series last season, and then win the division again this year….not good enough in the eyes of the Angels’ leadership.
Reagins’ four-year tenure is filled with hits and misses. Letting Chone Figgins find his free agent windfall elsewhere was a great move. But taking on Vernon Wells’ contract is probably the biggest albatross around Reagins’ neck. And there are three years to go on that mess.
Tony Reagins was the Director of Player Development for the Angels from 2002-2007 and the minor league system produced some solid contributors over that time. Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Howie Kendrick and others all came up through organization to contribute on the major league level. In 2003, The Sporting news honored the Angels’ system as Minor League Organization of the year and in 2007 Minor League News gave the club the same award. Reagins was a logical choice to fill the GM position when Bill Stoneham stepped aside.
But it didn’t work out. It may be a tremendous credit to the organization that second-place finishes are no longer acceptable, but there are some reports that there were personality issues between Reagins and others in the front office. That never helps. If the administrative staff, collectively, isn’t clear on the club’s direction, you can bet somebody’s role is about to change. If the organization is solid and commited to winning, that is.
So Reagins and the Angels both are moving forward, with Reagins still in the fold and a search being launched for a new GM. This kind of story is of tremendous interest for websites such as this one that report on player movement in baseball. The executive that makes the transactions IS the transaction. There’s a philosophy, a direction, an agenda that is the focus of such moves. Teams that are consistent winners don’t normally make such moves.
But each MLB team doesn’t have the same definition of success. For the Angels’ brass, the bar is pretty high and they expect to meet and exceed it. Every single year.