Anaheim Angels general manager Tony Reagins, helps three-time all-star and twelve-year veteran Vernon Wells, whom they acquired in a trade last Friday with the Toronto Blue Jays, to put on his new uniform jersey at a press conference in Anaheim

Angels far better off without Tony Reagins

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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.

Murray Chass rightfully nails Major League Baseball on minority hiring

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When Murray Chass lays off his vendettas against the people he feels have wronged him, he’s still capable of making some sharp points. Particularly when he’s working in his old bailiwick of the business of baseball.

On Sunday he wrote a blog post about minority hiring in baseball. As in, the nearly complete lack of it, at least in front offices:

Manfred has talked a better job on minority hiring than he has performed. He has created a pipeline program through which members of minorities are supposed to be able to advance into major league front office positions. However, no role models seem to exist as inspiration for younger employees.

In Manfred’s 20 months as commissioner, clubs have hired or promoted 19 high-ranking executives. Eighteen of the 19 are white males. The lone minority is Al Avila, the Tigers’ general manager.

Chass reports that Rob Manfred and, in the past, Bud Selig have leaned on clubs to hire friends or trusted lieutenants but claim they have no power to tell clubs who to hire when it comes to minorities. It’s pretty dang good point.

Moving beyond Chass’ points, it’s worth observing that one way baseball could better populate the executive ranks would be to hire more minorities in entry-level positions. What a better way to become a friend and crony than to have, you know, been there a long time? The game has had a horrible track record in doing this, however, for one simple reason: it pays crap wages for all but the highest of executive positions, pushing away candidates for whom money is, in fact, an object to pursuing a dream in baseball which, by demographic necessity, favors the rich and thus favors whites. Earlier this year MLB launched a pipeline program aimed at getting more minority candidates into entry level MLB jobs. That’s a good start to addressing the problem, but it’s going to take years for that to bear fruit, assuming it ever does.

Back in June Kate Morrison and Russell A. Carleton of Baseball Prospectus wrote a four-part series regarding this very issue, and it’s well worth your time. Among the points made is one that, given his vendettas, Chass surprisingly didn’t make himself: sabermetrics is partially to blame! Go read Kate and Russell’s work on that, but the short version: front offices want MBA/STEM types now, not people with athletic backgrounds. People with those degrees have expensive educations and, in turn, cannot afford to take pennies to work in baseball when they can make far more in other industries, thereby continuing to favor the rich and the white.

I don’t think Rob Manfred or Bud Selig before him or the people who run major league baseball teams are bigots. I don’t think that baseball, as a whole, wants to keep minorities out of top jobs. Chass doesn’t make such a claim either and he, like I, noted the pipeline program.

But baseball is a business rife with cronyism and nepotism which leads those in power to hire friends and relatives, thereby keeping the executive class overwhelmingly male and white. Baseball has shown that, when it wants to, it can lean on teams to make certain hiring choices. Will it do the same to push for greater minority representation in management ranks? Or will it continue to throw up its hands up and say “hey, that’s on the clubs?”

Tim Tebow hits a homer in his first instructional league at bat

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets hits a home run at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Because of course he did.

It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt.  The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.

Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.