Tag: Tony Reagins

Toronto Blue Jays: Vernon Wells Is Making GM Anthopoulos Look Better by the Day

It’s been a little over three months since Toronto Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos, dealt Vernon Wells and the remainder of his ridiculous $126 million contract to the Anaheim Angels. The move that shook up Toronto’s baseball landscape is making the young Blue Jays GM look better by the day.

His Anaheim counterpart, Angels’ GM Tony Reagins…not so much.

Heading into the weekend, it’s safe to say that Wells (1 HR, 5 RBI, .178 AVG) isn’t having the kind of start to the season that Reagins was hoping for when he traded for the former Jays’ All-Star. Even after only 25 games, looking at those numbers, the Angels’ GM has to be sweating a little bit.

The deal was made at the end of January and sent Wells and $5 million in cash to Anaheim in exchange for OF Juan Rivera and C/1B Mike Napoli. Napoli was then flipped to the Texas Rangers in exchange for closer Frank Francisco.

Thus far this season Rivera (2 HR, 6 RBI, .215 AVG) has played in 19 games for the Bluebirds, and Francisco, who started the season on the DL with an injured pectoral muscle, has appeared in four games for the Jays, earning one win in relief and sporting an ERA of 2.09.

The Jays might not have gotten any game changers in return for Wells, but at this point, the fact that they got anything in return for the struggling outfielder, without having to pay virtually any of the remaining $80 million on his contract, is already making Anthopoulos look like he outright swindled the Angels.

After the trade, the young GM made his motivation for moving Wells’ clear.

“The financial implications were certainly a large component,” Anthopoulos said. “There’s no question going forward this will give us flexibility.”

In this case, “flexibility” is a gross understatement. Wells’ contract is still considered by many to be one of the worst contracts in baseball history. The inflexibility that comes with it is now Tony Reagins’ problem.

To be fair to Reagins, Vernon did have a good season last year, hitting .278, with 31 homers and 88 RBI’s in 157 games. However, as Jays fans know all too well, those numbers have become the exception rather than the rule when it comes to Wells. Over the previous three seasons, between 2007 and 2009, he averaged only 17 homers and 75 RBI, while playing in an average of 138 games for the Jays.

Those numbers certainly do not reflect a $126 million player. So what was Tony Reagins thinking when he traded for the grossly overpaid 32-year-old?

At the time of the trade, he had this to say:

“Vernon is a player we have admired for some time,” Reagins said in an earlier statement. “He is a tremendous person and the type of player that will impact our club immediately, both on offense and defense.”

Wells’ “impact” on offense and defense is already being felt in Anaheim, and if Reagins’ admiration hasn’t turned into outright concern just yet, the continuing criticism of both Wells’ play, and the trade itself, has to be weighing on his mind. 

His Blue Jays counterpart on the other hand, Mr. Anthopoulos, is sitting pretty. With each passing game, Vernon Wells seems to be doing his best to make that deal look like one of the greatest trades in Toronto Blue Jays history.

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Vernon Wells: Angels Finally Make a Deal We Can ALL Be Happy About

In the midst of arguably the most disappointing offseason in franchise history, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim finally made a big move. The kind of move that could alter the course of the AL West in 2011.

So why isn’t anyone happy about it?

On Friday, the Angels sent Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to Toronto in exchange for three-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winning, slugging center fielder Vernon Wells.

But before Wells could even step on a plane, fans on both sides took Twitter in utter shock and media members around the league exploded with incredulity.

Writers have called this deal everything from desperate to absolutely the wrong deal at the wrong time for the Angels. One outlet compared the Angels’ acquisition of Wells to the deal that Barry Zito took from the San Francisco Giants.

Really? Someone out there thinks the trade is that bad?

It is simply unbelievable that so many could lambaste Angels management for its timid approach to a critical offseason, and then decry perhaps the best move the team could have made given the options left on the board.

Wells is not the player most had in mind when owner Arte Moreno publicly announced his commitment to improving his club. With gaping holes at third base, left field, and in the bullpen, other names seemed more likely.

Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre were all but future Angels at different points this offseason, but when money and contract length climbed too high, Moreno and general manager Tony Reagins backed off.

It happened. We’re not happy about it. It’s time to get over it.

Reagins did. In fact, he went out into an anorexic market, among the fiery criticism of fans and media members, and made the best deal he could find. All he had to give up was an under-performing outfielder and an expendable catcher.

Now he faces a whole new barrage of written wrath, but this time it is entirely unfounded.

The main gripe seems to be Wells’ contract. He is owed $23 million this season, and $21 million each of the following three years. That’s an $86 million investment, nearly as much as Crawford will earn from the Red Sox over the same time period.

So why didn’t the Angels pony up the dough for the player they originally wanted? Because Crawford’s deal extends three years beyond what Wells is signed for.

Between 2015-2017, the Angels will save roughly $65 million they would have otherwise owed a player in his mid-30’s whose impact is based entirely around speed. Boston is paying Crawford for his services now, not later.

The Angels are also overpaying their new outfielder, but as Reagins said, Wells’ contract is “tolerable” given it’s comparatively shorter length.

In the meantime, the Angels get a player who produces more runs on average than either Crawford or Beltre. Last year, Wells belted 31 home runs and knocked in 88 RBI, his highest totals since 2006.

They get a player who answers the lack of power in the Angels lineup, which struggled mightily to replace Kendry Morales after a broken leg ended his season. Napoli managed to lead the team with a career high 26 homers, but guys like Rivera, Torii Hunter, and Hideki Matsui couldn’t answer the call.

They get a player who, at 32, is still younger than any of the Opening Day starting outfielders in Anaheim. Rivera, Hunter, Bobby Abreu are all entering their mid-30’s or later, and it’s starting to show. Hunter, arguably one of the best defensive center fielders of all time, fell so far he was forced into right field.

They get a player who brings both speed and experience to what could be one of the top defensive outfields in the game.

If Peter Bourjos locks down the center field job in Spring, Wells would slide to left field, where his career could improve considerably, given the shift to a natural grass surface and the diminished area he would have to cover.

And let’s not forget, Wells is considered one of the best clubhouse guys in the game today. Attitude goes a long way to improving a ball club, especially a respectful organization like the Angels, and Wells is ready to do his part to bring a winning mentality to Anaheim.

“In Toronto, you’re hoping to contend. Here, you’re expecting to win,” Wells said during his official introduction on Thursday.

The Angels have made mistakes in the past with overpaying players or taking on bad contracts. But Wells is not Gary Matthews, Jr. He’s not Scott Kazmir. He is a proven talent who brings what the Angels need to win.

Crawford’s game might’ve been a better fit in Anaheim. Beltre’s defense may have done more to prevent runs overall. But money and time blocked their admission through Anaheim’s gates.

Wells is the right player at the right time for these Angels. His contract is not for anyone but Moreno to worry about.

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Angels In 2011: How the Halos’ Awful Offseason Impacts the AL West

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will have their work cut out for them in 2011. Fierce competition looms ahead, but not from the defending AL West Champion Texas Rangers or improved Oakland A’s.

This season, the Angels’ greatest challenge will be overtaking the Seattle Mariners—for third place in the division.

Hope for more optimistic aspirations dried up yesterday along with the ink from Adrian Beltre‘s signature when he finalized a six-year, $96 million deal with the Rangers. He joins Carl Crawford in a long, previously reported list of free agent failures for the Angels.

Once again, they offered a contract just big enough to feign an interest, but small enough to minimize the risk of bidding for his services.

Losing Beltre is actually a double-punch to the gut for the Angels. Not only are they left with a massive power outage at third base and no source of alternative energy to fix it, but their division rivals now shine that much brighter.

Like everything in Texas, Beltre’s offensive influence will be bigger. A lot bigger than, say, in Anaheim, where pitchers tend to have the advantage.

He wouldn’t have saved the Angels, but as the last viable third base option on the market, he could have made them competitive again.

Angels General Manager Tony Reagins already missed out on other infield options earlier this offseason while he was busy not signing Crawford, who wound up in Boston. Ty Wigginton, Edwin Encarnacion, Dan Uggla, Juan Uribe—all could have helped the Halos but none ever came close to getting the chance.

Currently, third base is a shared position between Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis, presumably to shift back and forth based on whoever has the hot glove and the fewest injuries.

Brandon Wood still looms on the horizon, but after having the worst season in 90 years among players with at least 200 at-bats, his days as a starting infielder in Anaheim appear to be over.

The Angels outfield is thin as well, but like the Rangers, another divisional foe managed to swipe the remaining options off the table before Reagins had a chance to answer the phone.

Oakland has quietly had one of the best offseasons of any team in baseball. The A’s finished ahead of the Angels last season and with a revamped lineup, they’re now poised to replace them as the Rangers’ biggest threat.

Perhaps the most overlooked move of the offseason came when the A’s stole David DeJesus away from the Kansas City Royals. Last July, DeJesus was the hottest player not named Cliff Lee on the market before a wrist injury ended his season and his trade prospects.

Now on the mend, the A’s were able to add his productive bat and speedy legs in center field for relatively little: a fifth starter and a minor league pitcher.

The Angels, meanwhile, are banking on the hope that Peter Bourjos will improve his offense enough to lock down the starting center field job. His defense is, quite honestly, unmatched, but his .204 batting average won’t be tolerated for long.

Over in left, where the Angels expected Crawford to be, they’re now looking at a platoon of Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera, two rapidly aging sluggers whose skills on offense are diminishing and on defense, were never there to begin with.

Once Crawford was off the board, Reagins should have turned his sights to the next best left field options, but it was Oakland GM Billy Beane who pulled the trigger first and landed Josh Willingham from the Washington Nationals.

While Willingham is not the type of player to lead his team offensively, he is still a solid bat in the middle of the order. He’ll also provide a fitting complement to another Oakland addition, former Angel Hideki Matsui.

Matsui belted 21 homers and drove in 84 RBI for the Halos, who have made no corresponding moves in the wake of his absence. For those keeping track, that is a 100 percent loss in offense for a team in desperate need of it.

There is still time though, about a month before pitchers and catchers report for warmups, another week or so after that until the rest of the players filter in. In around two months, Spring Training begins and one month later, the regular season finally gets underway.

That’s almost exactly three months for Reagins and the rest of the Angels’ brass to search high and low for a third baseman, an outfielder, a designated hitter. Perhaps a closer. Anything to bring them back to contention in their own division. Or at least something to bring the fans back to the stadium.

Owner Arte Moreno claims he didn’t want to spend big on free agents at the expense of raising ticket prices.

He made tickets affordable for fans, but at what cost to the team?

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Los Angeles Angels: Lack of Big Deals Foolish or Just Looking Ahead?

Heading into the winter after their worst season in eight years, the Angels looked like they planned on being among the offseason’s biggest buyers.  Arte Moreno and Tony Reagins both asserted that they would do everything they could to shore up the team’s obvious weaknesses.  They targeted All-Star left fielder Carl Crawford, and were thought to be the favorites to sign him from day one.  If there was a big free-agent name available this winter, the Angels were going to inquire on him.  They were linked to all the big names, from Crawford, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko, to Adrian Beltre and closer Rafael Soriano.

We’re nearly three months into the offseason, most of the big names are gone and big news is already made.  The Angels, with glaring issues in the bullpen, at third base and left field, would surely make a big-money splash or two in the free-agent pool.  It seemed like everyone was conceding Crawford to sign on to play with his pal Torii Hunter, but the Angels’ hard-line negotiating left no room for paying Crawford a dollar more than what they thought he is worth.  One by one, the big contracts were signed by the impact free agents.  It seemed like every team got a piece of the pie except for the Angels.

When all was said and done, the Angels’ free-agent haul read like this: veteran lefties Scott Downs for three years/$15 million and Hisanori Takahashi for two years/$8 million.  Ugh.  The bullpen is in a little better shape now, but what about the needs in the field?  It seems like the Angel brass forgot what they set out to do just a month before.

There is a lot of speculation and confusion as to what the strategy is for Reagins and Moreno.  Maybe they’re bad negotiators who didn’t have the courage to commit to Crawford or Beltre or Soriano. More likely, I think they are playing their cards close to the vest, which has characterized recent decisions regarding personnel and acquisitions.

Here is what I think is going on: Moreno, always concerned with his balance sheet and happiness of the fanbase, is doing all he can to make good on his promise to not raise ticket and concession prices due to increased payroll.  He’s hoping that he will continue to accrue good will with the fans over the long term, so that they repay him in loyalty and trust in times like this offseason when frustration and confusion reign.

That’s not all.  I think the decision-makers are looking ahead to next winter, when (as of current contract status) names like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Brandon Phillips, Jose Reyes and Aramis Ramirez will be on the free-agent market.  The current offseason of restraint and savings are just one cog in the wheel to position for a spending spree next year.  Maybe they make a big run at Pujols, and why not?  The Cardinals will be the only other team with the flexibility and room to compete for him.

After his struggles over the last two years, maybe Reagins thinks he can get Aramis Ramirez to fill the void at third base at a discount.  Slogging through another year with a platoon at third would certainly be worth signing Ramirez, right?  I think so, especially given the alternative of overpaying Beltre by $25 million this year, like Texas just did.

The point is I’ve seen Moreno and Reagins do curious and unconventional things before.  They go against the grain. They take gambles. They wait for a big payoff while everyone else chases instant gratification.  Prudence and restraint are vital in any kind of business investment.  The same goes for running a baseball team.

Frustrated?  Confused?  Angry?  Anxious?  I am all of the above regarding the current Angel landscape.  However, I’m glad to have Arte Moreno as my owner, and he has proven himself trustworthy as an acquirer of players over the last eight years.  I trust that he and Reagins are doing something good for the team, even if it isn’t quite visible on the surface or paying immediate dividends.   

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Tony Reagins Prolong Woes, So Angels’ Fans Might As Well Boycott

It’s as if spirit has suddenly vanished on Katella Ave.; almost as if the Angels couldn’t care less in revamping an inactive ballclub faced with tremendous emptiness and shame, unable to lure a blockbuster free-agent in an offseason attempt.

Before, the well-respected ballclub that resides near Disneyland was as popular as the other team in town and the city of Anaheim had been emblazoned with seas of red attire to adore the best baseball franchise in town.

At this point, the Angels are in oblivion, even if this is one of the main attractions in Orange County, even if this is one of the most mediocre clubs in baseball and even if Tony Reagins, the inept Angels general manager, is a toxic waste in a town that once was accustomed to postseason splendor.

These days, as the Halo in the parking lot of Angel Stadium doesn’t brighten the sky as much, the organization is failing so miserably to improve and helplessly transforms into dysfunction.

It was one of baseball’s well-operated businesses, until the owner Arturo Moreno purchased the franchise when the Walt Disney Co. decided to relieve itself of the responsibility in running a profitable business.

And just as much as he downplays the magnitude of becoming the first Hispanic owner, he pathetically denies to confess that he has sabotaged the Angels and disgusted devoted fans in a depress community, unless they drive down the street and spend countless hours at Disneyland to release all the disillusionment and affliction. 

Beyond the duplication of his failures as owner, so largely that fans are bickering in an outcry for losing on every bid this winter, it has lifted the insanity and the sport has strangely teetered.

For all the belief that the polarizing Bill Stoneman, the former general manager who built the Angels World Series championship team, wasn’t aggressive in reaching deals or assembling talent, he’s now truly missed since stepping down after eight years.

And yet, what turned into futility to expand upon the twinge of unsuccessfulness, the malcontent fans might as well just boycott the Angels next season, until Reagins is canned by his softhearted boss and until the Angels make adjustments, erecting a profound club and reinstalling exuberance.

The Angels are wrapped in tremendous disarray, until Moreno is reluctant in believing in Reagins’ horrendous implosions as a nugatory executive, relied on to renew a depleted and lifeless culture. Reagins, by further note, isn’t criticized of his botched inactivity after he hasn’t solidified or rehabilitated normalcy.

Whatever it is, he’s poorly tearing down the essence of Angels’ baseball, ruining a franchise that has plunged mightily and he is heavily not suitable for the task.

The Angels were never on the verge of pulling off a valuable deal to benefit long term, nor were they considered likely the favorites of the AL West, but blameworthy losers and could replicate another awful season.

Honestly, the deranged Angels couldn’t care less about winning a World Series, let alone spending wisely on a few leading candidates, losing on Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee.

What the hell?

It’s not particularly hard to notice that the Angels are cheesy in the way they run a lousy business, unless you are blind or either in denial. Every season, this time, it’s a suspenseful scenario and the Angels constantly keep the fans guessing on any potential upgrading pieces.

But in the end, while other franchises bid aggressively for the best slugger or ace available, the Angels are deprived of putting together the repertoire of necessary players, befitting for rising into top contention in a ripened division.

In all, it figured that the Angels were endangered of losing Crawford based on its history in the past, even if they informed other clubs he was a targeted free-agent amid the pursuit.

The most recent story in the midst of such a misunderstanding, around the time when teams are actively upgrading to add missing pieces, is that Reagins acknowledged he was busy calling other organizations. For now, it’s not easy to believe a damn thing and it feels sometimes as if he’s overwhelmed by a shortage of finances, unsure whether or not he desires to ensure a player of a long-term deal.

“I think when you hear the marquee names being shopped around or portrayed in the media as ‘that player is coming to your market,’ there’s an excitement level, and then when he doesn’t come, obviously there’s some disappointment by some.” Reagins said.

If you haven’t notice, he’s been saying the same thing repeatedly during his tenure and still, he hasn’t done anything to reform the defenseless Angels.

“But you have to go and play 162 games every year,” he said. And being able to add bullpen pieces are significant. When you don’t have those pieces and your bullpen doesn’t perform the way it can, it can really show itself. I’d rather have those pieces than not have those pieces, I can say that.”

I’d rather have a dignified player, too.

In an effort to not fortify a misplaced era, the Angels aren’t anywhere near returning to its usual form.

So the understanding, for some, is that the Angels prolongs an epidemic of woes, wrongly at a time when the high-market franchises are rebuilding and aiming to rightfully be the elites of baseball.

This is the town that Mark Teixeira was traded to as a rental and then hightailed his way to New York, where he signed a sizable deal with the Yankees.

This is the town that Paul Konerko turned down millions, just to stay in the Southside of Chicago, a place he gladly calls home.

This is the town that had a chance to bid for Lee and, at one point, had been in the sweepstakes to potentially finalize an unforeseen deal with the unhittable ace, but as usual the Angels lagged, allowing the Phillies to present a fitted amount and stun the baseball world by signing the peerless left-hander.

This is the town that was in the running for Roy Halladay in midseason, but opted to rebuff interest in grabbing the Cy Young winner. 

When it comes to baseball in a tepid town that has dysfunctional owners, oddly enough, fans tend to become furious with the lack of aggressiveness in adding a relentless texture.

There has been, on the other hand, gossip that teams from smaller markets with limited profit are forced to overpay to attract top-tier free-agents. And believe it or not, it’s very obvious these days.

The latest deal of insanity came on a $126 million contract for Jayson Werth that the Washington National foolishly gave to a role player who had a fairly superb season as an outfielder for the Phillies. 

Then, it was the Boston Red Sox giving Crawford a ridiculous $142 million deal. It was, by far, one of the most overpaid and mismanaged deals in baseball history, but reports were released that Moreno came close to proposing a contract within a pricey range.

Hell, the last time the Angels signed a top-notch free-agent happened two winters ago, when they brought in Torii Hunter, but since then the Angels famously become known for offseason blunders.

If what is destroying the Angels isn’t visible for people, then either the folks of Orange County are simply humiliated or could be unaware of Reagins.

What’s more important, for the moment, is the destruction and it has held the fans hostage, wondering if the Angels were ever coveted to obtain one of the finest free-agents on the market. 

The situation probably turns burdened for the well-respected manager Mike Scioscia. For now, at least, the responsibility of assembling a refinable aspect falls on the skipper.  

Just the other day, however, it was an amusing party that generated holiday cheers to more than 200 children at the annual Angels’ Children’s Holiday Party at Downtown Disney’s ESPN Zone, but so far, that is as much holiday cheer the Angels have treasured this offseason.

Don’t expect much, until Reagins is given his final paycheck. 

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Swing and a Miss: Carl Crawford Highlights a History Of Failure In Anaheim

Like so many years past, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim began the offseason with a hole in their roster and a high-profile player in line to fill it.

And like every other year, they came up short.

Carl Crawford agreed to a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox this week, marking the sixth time in as many years that the Angels failed to acquire their primary offseason target.

Last year, Angels fans witnessed an epic collapse when the team failed to re-sign John Lackey and successfully trade for Roy Halladay, a deal in which the Angels were considered the front-runners to complete.

While Lackey’s usually stellar numbers dropped off in Boston, Halladay cruised to his second Cy Young Award and helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies into the playoffs.

In 2008, the Angels made Mark Teixeira a sizable offer, but angrily yanked it back when it became apparent they would have to enter a bidding war with the Red Sox and New York Yankees. Tex eventually went to New York where he won his first World Series championship.

I’m sure the Angels had a nice view of him lifting the trophy from their moral high ground.

That same year, C.C. Sabathia was also on Anaheim’s wish list, but they again lost him to New York after placing a foolish 24-hour deadline on their offer.

Before that, the Yankees outbid the Angels for another superstar infielder, inking Alex Rodriguez to a new 10-year deal. A-Rod continues to get booed in Anaheim for his decision, even though he was never close to making the trip out West.

Of course, New York isn’t the only city to beat the the Angels off the field as well as on it. Chicago teams have also swiped superstars out from under Anaheim, with Paul Konerko returning to the White Sox five years ago and Aramis Ramirez re-upping with the Cubs.

That’s six—count’em, six—players the Angels made a high priority and failed to sign. Absolutely pathetic, and there is no indication that this will be the end of the pattern.

Which target will they not sign in the future? First basemen Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder could both hit the market after next season. Maybe the Angels will excite fans with those names before crushing their hopes and dreams yet again.

What of Jered Weaver? The major league strikeout champ will be a free agent in two years, and agent Scott Boras isn’t likely to negotiate an extension. He prefers his star clients to test the free agent market while he drives up the asking price to ridiculous proportions, which often rules out teams like the Angels.

If it comes down to it, would Reagins and owner Arte Moreno be willing to compete for his services? Recent history says no.

The last offseason to see Anaheim successfully woo a good player came in 2007 when Torii Hunter reportedly agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal at a local Del Taco.

But to find the last great player, the last true superstar to don a Halo, you have to look back seven years when the Angels locked up both slugger Vladimir Guerrero and ace Bartolo Colon.

Despite never making a World Series appearance, the pair helped transform the Angels into a consistent threat in the American League. In 2004, Big Daddy Vladdy won the AL MVP; the following year, Colon earned his first Cy Young award.

Those were the good old days.

Now fans are just as likely to see their club refuse to do what it takes to bring in the talent they need to win again. Perhaps even more disturbing, in failing to reach the stars they seek, they also overlook other talented role players.

In 2010 alone, they’ve missed out on catcher/first baseman/DH Victor Martinez; infielders Ty Wigginton, Juan Uribe, and Adrian Gonzalez; and pitcher Jorge de la Rosa. All were available, and all were snatched off the market while the Angels fought against history and the AL East to land that one big fish.

This is becoming a disturbing trend. The Halos are quickly sliding down toward that tier of inconsequential clubs that make a bunch of non-impact moves.

Like the Baltimore Orioles trading for J.J. Hardy or the Kansas City Royals signing Melky Cabrera, the Angels are left with ho-hum deals that excite no one and change nothing about their current standing. The kind of deals you skim past while reading up on the day’s transactions.

Alberto Callaspo was one of those moves, a trade deadline acquisition last season that neither benefited the Angels nor the Royals; it was merely a shuffling of the Titanic’s deck chairs.

After losing out on Crawford, the Angels are expected to turn their attention to Adrian Beltre, the only high-profile free agent left even though he is a player with two good seasons and a whole host of bad ones to his name.

Boras, Beltre’s agent, is sure to demand a salary similar to the one he got from the Seattle Mariners six years ago in the hope the teams will forget he wasn’t worth the paper that contract was printed on during his tenure in Washington.

In a spacious ballpark like Anaheim, away from the hitter’s delight of Fenway Park, Beltre will doubtlessly underperform again.

Crawford, meanwhile, is not just the next stop in a continuing history of failure for the Angels, he’s also the next for fans to boo vociferously. But maybe fans should aim those boos at the sky box that houses Tony Reagins, the man who is as reluctant to sign highly valued free agents as he is to talk about them in the media.

He is, after all, a graduate of the Bill Stoneman “Take Phone Calls and Sit on Your Hands” school of business management.

Yes, Reagins has a had a couple of good pickups over the years. But he is also directly responsible for at least three of above-mentioned blown deals. He was only given a free pass on the Teixeira mishap because of the rise of Kendry Morales, not that the Angels brass had any idea he’d be this good.

The fact that they offered Tex an eight-year, $160 million deal tells you all you need to know about what they though of Morales’s future at first base.

At this point, the most anyone can say for Reagins is that there are still four months to go before Opening Day. The Angels’ fallback targets are few and far between, though, and it will take a lot of work to buck the trend of history this time.

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L.A. Angels Have Much To Learn From Giants’ Championship Season

In 2002, the Anaheim Angels won a thrilling seven-game series against the San Francisco Giants to capture their first World Series Championship.

In 2010, the Giants beat the Angels. No, not in the World Series, but rather back to it. In doing so, they also won a championship for the first time since moving out of New York.

Meanwhile, the now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim finished the season with their first losing record in nearly a decade. Now they face a tumultuous offseason with plenty of work ahead of them.

General Manager Tony Reagins will have his hands and phone lines full trying to plug the holes of a ship on the verge of sinking into a sea of mediocrity. Most notably, he’ll be looking to patch up the leaks at closer, corner outfielder, and possibly third base.

Former Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Carl Crawford is rumored to be the favorite target of the Angels, though management has remained typically silent about any names floating around. And that’s fine, Crawford is a terrific player with game-changing speed, a great glove in the field, and a little pop in his bat.

But just because the Angels hail from Southern California doesn’t mean they should become starstruck with every big name that could potentially fill a need. Sometimes the lesser known players tossed in the bargain bin are really just struggling artists waiting for their big break.

Just look at the World Series champs.

The Giants managed to overcome giant opponents in both leagues, and with no true superstars in the lineup–save for a certain mop-topped pitcher.

Tim Lincecum mans a very important position, but only works once every five days. It was the rag-tag assembly of position players who shouldered the load and propelled their team to a championship.

Aubrey Huff suddenly lead the Giants in home runs and RBI. Juan Uribe was somehow sensational in place of Pablo Sandoval. Buster Posey didn’t even make the big club out of Spring Training.

At the trade deadline they failed to land a slugger like Dan Uggla, instead opting for aging veterans like Jose Guillen and Pat Burrell who couldn’t be traded away fast enough by their respective teams.

Not to mention, the transformation of Cody Ross from a no-name bench warmer for the Florida Marlins to a playoff monster and NLCS MVP.

Like the ’02 Angels who bested them before, the ’10 Giants put together a group of solid role-players with a little experience and a scrappy determination to never give up.

Now it’s the Angels’ turn to replace the halo that once donned that World Series trophy, and they don’t need Cliff Lee or Adrian Beltre to do it.

What about Pedro Feliciano? What about Uribe? What about players who don’t cost an arm and a draft pick to sign?

Don’t get me wrong, Crawford is on my wish list this holiday season, but his inclusion is unique. I’d also love Rafael Soriano and a 50-inch flat screen too, but it doesn’t mean I need them.

We’re in a recession, after all. The Angels should be looking at getting the best value for their money.

Throwing an exorbitant contract at an inconsistent run-producer like Beltre while surrendering two top-flight draft picks on both Crawford and Soriano is not smart holiday shopping.

Instead, let’s shop around a little and find those deals that richer consumers like the Yankees pass up and poorer souls like the Royals only dream about.

The Angels’ path to the promised land once ran through the Giants. Now, it runs parallel.  

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Los Angeles Angels Scouting Shakeup a Huge Win for Tigers With Hiring of Bane

When the Los Angeles Angels decided to perform housecleaning within their scouting department, they fired one of the most respected members of the scouting fraternity in all of baseball. Today, that man has a new job.

Eddie Bane, who was dismissed by the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 30, was hired today by the Detroit Tigers and will join their pro scouting department.

The housecleaning of the scouting department by the Los Angeles Angels not only included Bane, but three regional scouts as well.

Bane’s firing by the Angels was immediately called into question, with many media publications speculating whether or not there was a rift that developed between Bane and Angels GM Tony Reagins.

In Bane’s tenure as scouting director for the Los Angeles Angels, Jered Weaver, Nick Adenhart, Jordan Walden, Michael Kohn, Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger were all drafted as a result of Bane’s recommendations, and the signing of 1B Kendry Morales was his responsibility as well.

Bane’s overall philosophy with the Angels was to draft and sign the best players available, and no one can argue that he didn’t accomplish that.

At no time during Bane’s tenure with the Angels did he have a higher pick than No. 12 in the first round, and in three separate years, he had no first-round selection at all.

The Arizona Diamondbacks thought so highly of the Angels pitching prospects that they offered Dan Haren in exchange for those prospects, and the Kansas City Royals thought the same when they traded Alberto Callaspo to the Halos.

Doesn’t sound like a man who wasn’t drafting properly to me.

When interviewed by the Orange County Register back on Sept. 30 about Bane’s dismissal, Reagins said that philosophy had nothing to do with the dismissal and called it a business decision.

“There was definitely no personality conflict,” Reagins said. “I have great respect for Eddie and what he’s done in this organization. But you have to make difficult decisions in this business sometimes.”

Difficult decisions? Yes, but the decisions should also be smart ones. This one doesn’t qualify. And the Detroit Tigers will be big beneficiaries as a result.

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Cliff Lee or Jayson Werth?: 10 Reasons Neither Fits for the LA Angels of Anaheim

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have gone through a season in which could best be described as abysmal. Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006, they will be embarking on a sport in October that has been unfamiliar to them: golf.

The Angels will be celebrating their 50th birthday next season, and owner Arte Moreno and general manager Tony Reagins will undoubtedly be looking to put together a team in 2011 that will showcase their year-long celebration.

The 2011 MLB free agent class is certainly an option in which Moreno and Reagins will explore and invest in. Although the class itself may not be one of the better free agent classes in recent history, there are names on that list that will generate much interest among many teams, including the Halos.

As mentioned in a previous article, the Angels will have money to spend in the upcoming offseason. Between trades and expiring contracts of players who most likely will not be returning, the Halos will have approximately $25.5 million with which to play with.

Two of the biggest names in free agency that will generate a great amount of interest are Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee and Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth.

While both players clearly have their upsides and have contributed mightily to the success of their current teams, there are other options available in which Reagins and the Angels could, and should, explore.

Here are ten reasons why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should pass on the temptation of signing either Cliff Lee or Jayson Werth, and utilize the money for options that will best serve their needs in 2011.

Looking for more great Angels coverage? Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.

You can also follow Doug’s featured articles at Green Celebrity Network.

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September Is Proving Ground for Los Angeles Angels’ Scott Kazmir

Los Angeles Angels‘ starting pitcher Scott Kazmir has been a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Purchased by the Halos last August for two minor-leaguers and a player to be named later, the Angels honestly thought they were receiving a player who, at 25, was looking ahead at several years of continued maturity and dominance.

The 2009 season for Kazmir had been a major disappointment with the Tampa Bay Rays. Off and on the disabled list and struggling with his fastball command, Kazmir strung together several quality starts in mid- to late-August. The Angels came calling, and the Rays couldn’t unload Kazmir fast enough.

Sure, Kazmir had a bloated contract (three years, $28.5 million); however, the Angels took the chance that he would be able to turn the corner, harness his control issues, and be the pitcher that looked dominant from 2006-08.

In six starts for the Angels to end the 2009 regular season, Kazmir was effective, with a 1.73 ERA, 26 strikeouts, and just 10 walks. His control issues came back to haunt him in the postseason however, when he gave up nine earned runs in 10.2 innings, walking eight in two starts.

The 2010 season has been a major disappointment for Kazmir. Now 8-13 with a 5.98 ERA, he continues to battle control issues, particularly with his fastball, and patience is growing thin in the Angels organization.

“The lion’s share of his issues have been command,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “His inability to get the fastball in good zones and bring his changeup into the game on more counts has really set him back. The slider inconsistency is not as big an issue as fastball command.

“We have confidence in Scott’s ability to get to a higher level, but certainly, if options come along that will make you better, you have to consider them.”

That does not exactly qualify as a ringing endorsement for the struggling left-hander.

Kazmir will likely have at least five more starts in the 2010 season. While he was effective in his last start on Wednesday (6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K), he will have to show the Angels that he is capable of showing consistent command of his fastball in the strike zone and that he can effectively call upon all of his pitches with confidence.

If Kazmir proves unable to turn the corner, the Angels will have a tough time dealing him this offseason because of his contract. He is due $12 million next season with a $13.5 million club option for 2012 that can be bought-out for $2.5 million. The Angels would likely have to pay a large chunk of that for any team to be interested in Kazmir’s services.

Kazmir will have just under four weeks to prove he belongs.

“The major leagues is always a proving ground, whether you’re Torii Hunter or Peter Bourjos, whether you’re Scott Kazmir or Ervin Santana,” Scioscia said. “It’s a proving ground every day, a challenge to show that position is yours, that you can help the team win.”

You can follow Doug Mead on Twitter, @desertdesperado.

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