The Best Move Is The One Never Made

Poor Tony Reagins, all he does is try his best to create a team of winners yet he falls flat on his face time and time again. He’s had some huge busts, there is no denying that, but he has also had his fair share of glorious victories. The oh so common saying “the best move is the move never made” is as true as it is old, but how does it apply to Tony Reagins? 

Tony Reagins
Did you know his middle name is Dolt? It’s almost as if his parents knew.

Let’s face it guys, this team isn’t exactly what it was cracked up to be. One would have to think maybe…just MAYBE if this team had held on to some of their mainstays from a few years past that we wouldn’t be having this conversation. As painful as it was to see Reagins allow the nucleus of this team to be torn apart after 2009 one has to wonder if we would still be in the same situation that we’re in right now. As much as I would like to think the Angels would be better if some old faces had stuck around, but recent history says otherwise. What did Reagins do to allow the Angels to evade a financial and performance breakdown of this team? More like what didn’t he do!

For starters, if Reagins had resigned John Lackey then this team would have never needed to make the trade that brought Haren to Anaheim. That means the Angels would have been stuck with an under performing Lackey his bloated contract and a forever mediocre Joe Saunders. Let’s say, hypothetically, that John Lackey avoids a meltdown by staying in Anaheim. The team would still be worse off with him, not only does Haren put up better performances on a night to night basis, he isn’t burdened by anger issues like Lackey. Dan Haren is a team player and looks out for his teammates, he doesn’t verbally break them down on the field during a bad play. Not to forget the fact that Dan Haren is two years younger then Lackey, giving the Angels much more options regarding his current and possible future contract. Pitching hasn’t been the biggest problem that’s plagued this team, it’s always been offense. 

Reagins let the two biggest offensive producers on the team walk after 2009, Vladimir Guerrero and Chone Figgins. While the Angels were pained badly by these two moves last year, the long term benefits are undeniable. For one, the Angels are allowed to have more depth without Vladdy. At least Abreu can manage to field, even though he is very mediocre, while Guerrero’s fielding days have been long over. I’d rather not have to look back on his disastrous starts in right field for the Rangers during the World Series last year. Plus, why would Reagins want to pack more age on this team when they already have more then their fair share of experience. He already has enough aging and over the hill players to deal with? 

Now we all know that Figgins is doing terribly in Seattle while no one can quite point the finger on what the problem is. Some say it’s psychological, and we all know how much the Angels adore collecting the mentally damaged. Last year the Angels fanbase was in uproar that Figgins was allowed to walk, while being even further frustrated with Brandon Wood’s record breaking suckage. To me, Aybar has always been the spiritual successor to Figgins, he may not be a prototypical leadoff man, but he’s got a good enough bat and glove to cover up the hole he left. Aside from Aybar, the Angels were allowed to stretch out their depth in Figgins absence. Now we get to see two of the same player platooning at first! You don’t come across the infield depth that the Angels have every day.

Is it general ineptitude on Reagins part that caused him to make those moves, or does he possess great foresight? Sure he did manage to gift wrap Vladdy for the Rangers and watch him have a phenomenal bounce back season with Texas, inevitably leading them to the World Series. He also allowed us to comfortable sit at home and watch Figgins and Lackey stink it up miles and miles away from Anaheim. 

As much as I would like to back Reagins and his moves, there isn’t much to go on. Sure he did save the team from being plagued by a couple bad contracts which have have most likely lead to half-baked performances from those players, yet he somehow managed to turn around and take on more bad contracts then he saved. The Angels still have to eat Kazmir’s contract for the rest of the year, then Abreu’s the next year, followed by the Vernon Wells contract, and god knows how many bad contracts he’ll gladly eat up by the they all expire. If Torii Hunter keeps up his performance for the rest of the year it’ll be seen as wasted money by many Angel fans. Yes, I am aware that Torii Hunter is the face of this ballclub and how he’s such a great guy and a team player, too bad you can’t win a World Series with charm. 

You can win a World Series with a good GM however, which we won’t get too see for a long time. Isn’t it ironic that, given all the bad contracts Reagins has handled, his contract is the worst of them all? Another long term individual friendly deal that is going to hamper to team for years in an ocean full of them. Hopefully he’ll be able to get his head straight and make up for his contract with a series of grand splashes just as good, if not better, then his famous Torii Hunter signing and trades for Haren and Teixeira. It is very hard to believe he will be able to do so, especially after his recent Carl Crawford/Adrian Beltre debacles this past off-season. I’m still bitter with you over those failures Tony.

Very bitter.