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.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.

It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.

He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four.  He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.

He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.

Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.

Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.

This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.