Angel On The Spot: GM Reagins
The pressure now isn’t on any of the Angels’ players. It is on General Manager Tony Reagins.
This is his chance to show he is legitimate. This is his opportunity to prove he is more than just an inexperienced, inexpensive hire for the man who is supposedly so free with his money — owner Arte Moreno.
The freakish accident that resulted in Kendry Morales fracturing his left ankle and putting him out at least until August and, more likely, for the rest of the season, means the Angels have to do something not to win the pennant, necessarily. But just to stay in the race.
What they have now offensively won’t do it. They’ll try to tell you they can plug in Mike Napoli at first base and they’ll be fine. Don’t believe it. First of all, he can’t do the job every day defensively. Second, the Napoli we’ve watched crush the ball this month isn’t the one you’re likely to see the rest of the way. He is a notorious streak hitter, and he’s just as likely to hit in the low .200s in June as he was to collect all those extra base hits in May.
No, another bat is badly needed somewhere in the lineup. The middle of the order would be nice, but those are difficult to get. If Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui and Howie Kendrick eventually hit to their potential, the heart of the lineup isn’t so bad. But the top is still suffering. What they could use most of all right now is a solid .290 to .300 guy with a .370 or higher on-base percentage.
Are you listening, Mr. Reagins?
A large segment of Angels’ followers believe that Scioscia took over as the organization’s main decision maker when Bill Stoneman retired as GM. Reagins, they say, is just a front man who makes the calls and reports to the manager.
Well, you know Scioscia realizes they need another bat. They could have used one even before the Morales injury. Now they’re absolutely desperate for one.
But the manager can’t do the wheeling and dealing. Not during the season, anyway. Now it will be up to Reagins to face his first real crisis on the job. He will have to be creative and aggressive, but he has to get something done.
The Angels owe it to their loyal fan base, the people shelling out all those dollars on a regular basis for tickets. It wouldn’t be fair to them to say, “We’re sorry about losing our best hitter. We’re just going to try to make do with what we have.”
That won’t work in this new internet-crazed generation, gentlemen. The blogs and message boards already are overflowing with comments and demands. You and that dozing Rally Monkey can’t just sit there and do nothing.
What about the minor leagues? Sorry, the Triple-A cupboard is pretty much bare. Mark Trumbo, a first baseman from Orange County who leads the Pacific Coast League in home runs, sounds like a perfect fit. But then you look closer and see he’s hitting about .275 and striking out almost as often as Brandon Wood did down there a year ago.
Center fielder Peter Bourjos, supposedly the organization’s best every-day prospect at Triple-A Salt Lake, has been advertised as the “leadoff man of the future.” Great, but the future definitely is not now. Bourjos is hitting less than Trumbo and, worse, has a grand total of six walks in 180 some at-bats. What does that tell you about the coaching he’s getting down there? This guy is a potential leadoff man and nobody is telling him to take a few pitches once in a while?
So the minor leagues are out, along with Morales. That leaves it up to Reagins.
It might take packaging a decent young prospect or two (Forget about Mike Trout. He’s untouchable), and maybe one of the pitchers in your regular rotation (Mssrs. Weaver and Santana not included, of course).
But you have to come up with something. There are hitters out there who are available (Chicago’s Paul Konerko is one that comes immediately to mind). The idea is to find somebody without crippling your team now or in the future. It is a tough assignment, but one a competent, big league GM in a major market can get done.
This is when we find out if Reagins fits that description.
— Steve Bisheff