Tony Reagins abruptly resigned as the Los Angeles Angels’ general manager on Friday after the big-budget club failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season.
Reagins took over for Bill Stoneman after the 2007 season, rising to the top executive job after starting with the organization as an intern in 1991.
The Angels won the AL West in Reagins’ first two seasons, losing to Boston in the 2008 division series and the New York Yankees in the 2009 AL championship series. But Los Angeles has fallen behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West over the past two seasons despite a payroll well over $100 million, and Reagins’ hit-and-miss record on personnel decisions apparently didn’t please owner Arte Moreno.
”Though we finished 2011 with a winning record, we remained short of our objective in winning a championship,” Moreno said in a statement. ”In moving forward, we felt a change was needed. Throughout his career, Tony has meant a great deal to this organization, and represented the Angels with the utmost loyalty and dedication. He will always remain part of the Angels family.”
The Angels said Reagins will remain with the team as a special assistant to chairman Dennis Kuhl.
Despite starting this season with baseball’s fourth-highest payroll at $139 million, Los Angeles went 86-76 and finished 10 games behind Texas in the AL West and five behind Tampa Bay in the wild-card race.
Moreno attended the Angels’ season finale on Wednesday, a 3-1 loss to the Rangers, who completed a three-game sweep with a ninth-inning homer by Mike Napoli, the longtime Angels catcher who was traded by Reagins last winter for disappointing outfielder Vernon Wells. Los Angeles was in contention for the AL West title until a week ago, but lost nine of its final 13 games.
Before he became the Angels GM, Reagins spent the previous six seasons as Los Angeles’ director of player development under Stoneman, his mentor. Los Angeles won a majors-best 100 games in his first season in 2008 before getting within two games of the World Series in 2009.
Reagins had several successes in his personnel tenure, acquiring starter Dan Haren last year, but his disappointments apparently were more glaring. After missing out on every big-name free agent last winter, he swung a trade for Wells, who batted just .218 with 25 homers while making more than $26 million in his first season with Los Angeles.
Reagins also fired Eddie Bane, his respected director of scouting, last season after an apparent rift developed between the executives. Bane’s department produced roughly half of the Angels’ current roster, including rookie of the year candidate Mark Trumbo, top prospect Mike Trout and ace Jered Weaver.