The Angels Clean House as Napoli Shines

This past Friday, Angels (now former) GM Tony Reagins resigned, stepping down after four seasons at the helm. The Angels failed to make the postseason for the second straight season, something they had not done since 2000-2001. Reagins’ time as GM will likely be viewed as a failure, but he certainly shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame.

As Mike Napoli rounded the bases Monday night in St. Petersburg, having hit a go-ahead two-run home run, Twitter began lighting up with news that the Halos’ house cleaning had continued. Long time employees Ken Forcsh and Gary Sutherland were told that they would not be returning to their posts in the front office for the 2012 season.

The news of the Angels’ new direction is not surprising. They’ve made some really bad personnel decisions over the last few years that have aided their postseason vacancy. But then there is Mike Scioscia, the leader of the on-field talent and some say the leader of the organization itself. After all, it was Scioscia that wanted Mike Napoli gone, a sentiment that grew stronger as the 2010 season progressed and Napoli continued to ride the pine in favor the ever so inept Jeff Mathis. What choice did Reagins really have? Now, one could certainly argue that Reagins could have found a different player, with a much more manageable contract, than Vernon Wells – let’s face it, he definitely should have.

During his time as GM, Reagins made a few bold moves that didn’t pan out: The Scott Kazmir trade, the Fernando Rodney signing, the Brian Fuentes signing and, of course, the Vernon Wells trade. He did, however, make some very good deals: Brinigng in Mark Teixeira for the stretch run in 2008, trading for Dan Haren, with a reasonable contract through 2013, and more recently signing staff ace Jered Weaver to a below market value contract extension.

Mike Napoli might haunt Tony Reagins’ dreams for a long-long time. Napoli had an incredible season, and for a division rival, hitting .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs in only 432 plate appearances, putting up 5.6 wins above replacement, or, 6.6 more wins above Jeff Mathis, who has played at a below replacement level for two seasons now. Mathis, in 426 games with the Angels, has posted –1.8 wins above replacement.

The Mike Napoli trade may be the deal that finally did Reagins in, but keep in mind that Mike Scioscia had a heavy hand in the process.

If you need any more evidence that it is Scioscia, not anyone in the front office that truly runs the Angels, look no further to the fact that, while axes are dropping left and right, Scioscia’s contract keeps him in Anaheim through the 2018 season.

Only seven more years to right the ship, Mike.

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.