Angels far better off without Tony Reagins

11 Comments

While the Angels’ much-hyped prospects didn’t always pan out, Tony Reagins had a very good record as the team’s director of player development from 2002-07. As a general manager, the 44-year-old was simply overmatched. It’s safe to say he didn’t resign Friday on his own terms.

Reagins’ legacy will be the Vernon Wells deal. It was viewed by many as a terrible risk at the time, and through one year, it worked out even worse than anyone could have imagined. Not only was Wells one of the league’s worst regulars, hitting .218/.248/.412 with 66 RBI in 505 at-bats, but Mike Napoli, who was simply given away, came through with a .320/.414/.631 line and 75 RBI in 369 at-bats for Texas.

And the Angels still owe Wells $63 million over the next three years.

Reagins also made a habit of assembling expensive but mediocre bullpens. After Francisco Rodriguez left, he signed Brian Fuentes for $17.5 million, Scott Downs for $15 million and Fernando Rodney for $11 million.  Only Downs worked out from that group. Of his three biggest starting pitching acquisitions, again, only one worked out (Dan Haren did, Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro didn’t).

On offense, Reagins never addressed the Angels’ biggest weaknesses — catcher and third base — instead splurging on the outfield. Ironically, even if Wells had put together a solid season, he’d already be obsolete: the Angels best outfield next year would have Mike Trout in left and Peter Bourjos in center.

Now, Reagins certainly doesn’t deserve all of the blame.  No deal like the Wells trade goes down without ownership playing an active role, and Mike Scioscia certainly had a big say in the catching situation.  Reagins should land on his feet; there figure to be several teams interested in him in a player development position.

The Angels, though, shouldn’t have to look too hard to find an upgrade in the GM role.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

Getty Images
2 Comments

After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.