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.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.