Ah, Tony Reagins...I still remember the fateful October day when Bill Stoneman left the office of Angels GM, and I jumped for joy, since Stoneman was always overly cautious about splashing for free agents. So, naturally, I was excited the one day I was in school and my sixth-period teacher pulled me aside and told me, "You need to see what the Angels did with Cabrera." I went nuts right there, seeing that the Angels had been trying to nail Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins for seemingly ages. But it wasn't THAT Cabrera the Angels did something about...and it set this chain of events into motion.
So, without further delay, here's a look at each move that TR has made, graded on a scale of 1-5. At the end, I'll add/average them and give you the overall score. Above 2.5, and my consensus will be that Reagins keeps his job. Below 2.5, and I hang onto my preconceived opinion that we let him go.
Trade SS Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for SP Jon Garland. I wondered exactly why this happened--it was a random move that had seemingly no purpose. At that given moment, I was a little upset, since OC was one of my favorite players. But Garland was an innings-eater that had a decent year, while Cabrera went to the South Side and tanked (even if his magical playoff-attracting abilities followed him). Hindsight indeed is 20/20, so I grade this move a 3, since it wasn't fantastic, but it was far from terrible.
Sign OF Torii Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract. Very shortly after the Garland trade, the Angels jumped out of NOWHERE to sign Hunter. Even before then, I'd always liked him, since we have the same birthdate (although he has 19 years on me). Torii posted a pretty good 2008 (and dispatched the always-adequate Gary Matthews, Jr. to the bench, where he belonged), and had two All-Star seasons in 2009 and 2010. Even if he's on the decline now, the deal was made to immediately improve the team, and it did, giving us arguably the best outfield of any AL team in 2008 (Anderson-Hunter-Guerrero). This one gets a 4.
Trade 1B Casey Kotchman and RP Stephen Marek to the Braves for 1B Mark Teixeira. There I was, watching ESPNEWS, staring intently at the bottom of the screen for any trade news. And I saw it: "Angels acquire 1B Mark Teixeira from Braves in exchange for 1B Casey Kotchman and minor league RP Stephen Marek." I freaked. I jumped out of my chair and went certifiably insane. Tex posted monster numbers in the two and a half months we had him, and got dragged to New York by his wife and Scott Boras (who played Reagins for a fool) after the season. Kotchman has since played for four different teams in the two and a half years since the trade, and Marek is a AAAA reliever. Um, we won. Reagins' first 5, even if the offseason drama after the trade was undesirable.
Release OF Garret Anderson. I, as well as many other Angels fans, were heartbroken after this move. However, he was on the decline, and if it weren't him to get cut, it probably would've been Vladimir Guerrero. Emotional disturbance aside, Anderson became a fourth outfielder for the Braves and Dodgers afterward, and got something like 150 hits in the two seasons after his release. Always an Angel, even if it hurt to let him go. A 4.
Sign OF/DH Bobby Abreu to a 1-year, $5 million contract. It was about 3 weeks before spring training, and Bobby didn't have a job. The Angels really didn't have room for him--as Matthews was set to take over in left field, while Hunter and Vlad had center and right staked down. But we picked him up on the (very) cheap, and he raked. Vlad transitioned to DH, so Bobby played more of right field, while left field became something of a carousel (pretty sure I remember Matthews, Willits, Sean Rodriguez and even Figgins and Nathan Haynes playing left at some point). Fact of the matter? Bobby had a great year on a cheap deal, and even finished 12th in MVP voting. Another 4--but don't call me crazy yet, Reagins is about to slide downhill.
Sign RP Brian Fuentes to a 2-year, $18 million contract. When the ink was wet, the deal looked decent. Fuentes was a great stopper in Colorado that wanted to play closer to home. Slipping into the shoes of a man that saved 62 games in 2008, Fuentes racked up 48 of his own in 2009--but blew seven others and had a subpar ERA, not to mention his pathetic playoff showings. 2010 was more of the same, and then some--an ugly year that saw him get shipped to the Twins before the waiver deadline (which I'll get to later). This, right here, in hindsight, is the second-worst move of the Reagins era; so bad, in fact, that he himself had to undo it by sending him to Minnesota for Loek van Mil. This one earns nothing more than a lousy 1.
Acquire SP Scott Kazmir from the Rays in exchange for 3B Matt Sweeney, P Alex Torres, and INF Sean Rodriguez. For the time being, this was a GREAT waiver-wire trade. Kazmir had a good September with the Angels, and we gave up two low-level guys and a fifth infielder for him. Looks great, right? Well...while the prospects haven't amounted to much yet, Rodriguez is Tampa Bay's go-to guy if Ben Zobrist or Matt Joyce need a day off, and he's no slacker. Meanwhile, Kaz put up horrific numbers after that September (including the postseason), so...we lost. That September saves this trade from being a 100% failure, but Reagins still flopped. It's a 2.
Release OF/DH Vladimir Guerrero. Too many Angels fans I knew were completely heartbroken. I can't blame them--but at the same time, many of us knew that his health was slowly going downhill, and he was looking at the end of his career. However, the Rangers picked him up, and he was arguably one of the biggest reasons they made the World Series--and he, like Abreu for us, raked enough to place 12th in MVP voting. Granted, had the Angels kept him, his production may not have stayed up...but he obviously has enough to be decent in a season--likely more power than our current DH. It's another 2 here.
Sign DH Hideki Matsui to a one-year, $6 million contract. Was Godzilla the most spectacular of finds? Not really. But he was a good hitter for the Angels to get--24 bombs, 70 RBI and around a .270 average is a good year for anyone to have. Angels fans still deeply missed Vlad, but Godzilla was popular in his own right (anyone remember "Matsuiland"?). For re-infusing fan excitement after Vlad left, and for holding his own at the plate, the Matsui signing rates a 3.
Sign SP Joel Pineiro to a 2-year, $16 million contract. Pineiro was coming off a renaissance in St. Louis (15-12, 3.49 ERA), so landing him for $16M was considered a mild bargain amongst many. And, he's doing what the front office pays him to do--have an ERA hovering between 3.50 and 4.50, win 10-12 games, and eat innings. Plus, he's a valuable guy to have and I think the Angels will miss him when he walks after this season. There's more value to this signing than people can tell, so I'm actually giving TR a 4 on this one.
Sign RP Fernando Rodney to a 2-year, $11 million contract. Yuck. Without a doubt in my mind, the absolute worst move of the Reagins era. Rodney, in his seasons with Detroit, had one good season (predictably, his walk year). The Angels hype machine painted it out as having "dual relief aces" (among other terms). However, both "aces" tanked. Fuentes, as aforementioned, got traded for a 7'1" minor leaguer in August, and Rodney imploded as the season drew to a close. This one, as well, is a 1, since all Rodney has done in the interim is record hideous ERAs, get injured, and blow saves (his 23 saves in 2010 were mostly before the Fuentes trade).
Trade OF Gary Matthews, Jr. to the Mets for RP Brian Stokes. GMJ was indisputably the biggest mistake Bill Stoneman made. Not that he was a bad player; he's an adequate guy to have on your team. But he was making $11 million per year, for five years, and the Torii signing rendered him a lame duck. He made it vocal, after the 2009 postseason, that he wanted out. We got stuck paying for all but $2 million of his remaining salary, and got the reliever Stokes in return. He looked like he'd be okay, but he got injured in May, never regained his stuff, and was out of the organization by September. Both sides got screwed here. As good as it was to unload GMJ, we really didn't--we're paying him to sit at home, and the piece we got in return was a walking injury. This one ranks a 2, due sheerly to the view in hindsight.
Acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Royals in exchange for SP Sean O'Sullivan and RP Will Smith. I thought this trade was absolutely pointless when we made it--all we did was acquire another Maicer Izturis, and we gave up a young, MLB-ready arm for him. This was one of those nothing moves--O'Sullivan ended up having a terrible year in Kansas City, and Callaspo...well, he hasn't been anything special, but he's not bad. He can slap the ball, get on base, and sometimes flash the leather--but proceed with caution. Callaspo's defense is feast-or-famine, as he either makes a fantastic play, or he makes a throwing error. Call him Esteban Blass, if you will. This trade's a 2.
Acquire SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks in exchange for SP Joe Saunders, RP Rafael Rodriguez, SP Tyler Skaggs and RP Patrick Corbin. I stalked the message boards on several sites after this trade, just to gauge some reaction (since the Angels were nowhere to be found in any Haren speculation). What I saw were infinite theories of Jerry Dipoto blackmail--and that's got to be the only way Reagins pulled this deal off with a straight face. Saunders has fallen off his All-Star form since joining Arizona, and I've heard nothing of the other three (though I think once Skaggs makes the majors, he'll do just fine). This is Reagins' finest moment, and it gets him a 5.
Trade RP Brian Fuentes to the Twins for RP Loek van Mil. I remember reading this and shouting, "THANK YOU JESUS!" I knew this trade was good just for dumping the Lollipop Man to Minnesota. I can't give it a full measure until Goliath makes his big league debut, but as for now, I give it a 3--simply because we took out the trash.
Sign RP Hisanori Takahashi to a 2-year, $8 million contract. Hisa hasn't been great since the signing, but I think he does enough to do the signing justice. The Angels weren't looking for a lights-out, party-over pitcher when they signed him, but he's a decent enough mop-up man to gain my respect--that is, if he comes in with the bases empty. He's not great, but he's not terrible. Just average. So, a 3 is a fitting score here.
Sign RP Scott Downs to a 3-year, $15 million contract. Scotty's my new favorite Angels pitcher. He had great years with Toronto, and was one of baseball's premier setup guys then. Now, I think he's the best setup man in all of baseball--a 1.65 ERA (last I checked; it's likely lower by now), and a delivery that fools even the best hitters. This guy's on fire, and I give the deal a 4--but knowing the phrase "it's always darkest before the dawn"...is it also lightest before the dusk? Look out below.
Trade C/1B Mike Napoli and OF Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays for OF Vernon Wells. When you ignore the contract that Wells has, it doesn't look as bad as it is. However, once you throw in the 4 years and $81 million we inherited (since the Jays gave us $5M), it looks ugly. And for the first month of the season, it looked UGLY. However, Wells has heated up since then, and while has average leaves much to be desired, his power's coming back. Meanwhile, the Jays flipped Napoli to Texas for Frank Francisco just four days after THIS trade, while Rivera was recently DFA'd. The jury's still out for some, while others have already made up their minds. Had the Jays not dispatched their trade pieces, this trade would look a little bit better. A 2 seems a bit harsh (I mean, WE didn't ship him to Texas, Toronto did), while a 3 is pretty generous. So, I'm giving out my only 2.5 here.
Now...let's average these things up. The cumulative here is 54.5, divided by the 18 total moves...it's a 3.0278. Reagins keeps his job.
What's your opinion here? Think the scores are fair? Too harsh? Too generous? What are, in your opinion, the best/worst moves (of any kind) during the Reagins era?