After eight years, a World Series championship, a few division titles, and a team name change on his resume, Bill Stoneman will be stepping down as the GM of the Angels in a press conference today — so sayeth the papers. This is probably not the best time for the Halos to lose their top office man, especially when they need to do what Stoneman never did over his eight-year tenure: bring in the second big bat to complement the team, and protect Vladimir Guerrero.
Stoneman’s decision to step aside — and Moreno’s apparent decision to promote Reagins — leaves the Angels with a rookie general manager at the start of an off-season in which Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds could provide big-name options in the seemingly annual quest for a big bat…[he] protected his prospects above all — even, as one of his assistants noted, refusing to trade away a future he might not be around to run for one last chance at another World Series.
While promising players have emerged — John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields, catchers Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis and infielders Casey Kotchman and Howie Kendrick — Stoneman never made a major midseason trade. He was all but forced to make his most successful off-season trade, swapping the suspended Jose Guillen to the Washington Nationals for Maicer Izturis and Juan Rivera.
Stoneman should have made a better run at Mark Teixeira this summer; he probably could have had him for Casey Kotchmann and Joe Saunders; while that wouldn’t have ensured any sort of victory against the Red Sox in the division series, it would have meant someone on that team was healthy. If Tony Reagins is the successor, better hope he figures out quick to make a run at Torii Hunter. I don’t think Arte Moreno would go back on his publicly stated feelings and throw $30 million a year at Alex Rodriguez if he opted out, but that’s the position where they could use a power bat and an environment in which A-Rod could thrive without pressure from anyone outside the L.A. Times or Orange County Register offices.
Photo: Alex Gallardo/L.A. Times