Angelswin.com interview of GM of LA Angels - Tony Reagins
Tony Reagins (born 1967 in
Angelswin - First of all, congratulations. Everyone at AngelsWin.com is happy about your promotion and we're looking forward to some good things in the future.
Tony Reagins - Thank you very much.
Angelswin - So, Tony, what's the journey been like the last 16 years?
Tony Reagins - It's been a real good experience starting from where I began as an intern working my way up through the organization and working under some very good and talented people as far as ownership groups and general managers, farm directors and scouting directors.
From the business standpoint and marketing side i've worked with some very talented people that really gave me an opportunity to grow and gave me a chance to advance and 16 years later here I am.
Angelswin - Who would you say were the most influential people, perhaps from both sides - the baseball and the marketing side of the business?
Tony Reagins - From a baseball standpoint, probably Bill Bavasi and Bill Stoneman. Both of those guys were probably the most influential, taught me different things. From a business standpoint, I learned a lot from many people. John Savano, he gave me a chance and Tim Mead has been good over the years giving advice - just a number of people that took the time when they didn't have to, to give me an opportunity.
Angelswin - What's it like to work under Arte Moreno?
Tony Reagins - It's been great. Great relationship. He wants to know what's going on as far as the baseball side of things and the business of the Angels in general. He's been a tremendous owner.
Angelswin - You probably have a lot of incredible memories over the last 16 years. What would you say are the one or two that you cherish the most?
Tony Reagins - Number one was winning the World Series in 2002. That was probably the pinnacle - just going through that whole experience. Other fond memories are to be able to watch Jimmy Reese hit fungos and watch him dialogue with the players and just the relationship he had with everyone. That's a very fond memory. Being able to speak with Mr. Autry. Those guys had been in the business for a long time and Mr. Autry's passion for winning. After winning the World Series you thought about that a lot. Those are some of the fond memories
Angelswin - What do you think you can bring to the Angel organization? How do you see yourself like Bill Stoneman and in what ways do you think you're different?
Tony Reagins - I think we both really believe in scouting and development. I think one of my strengths that I bring to the organization is that I know our minor league system very well and have a strong belief in developing players and developing players that play for the Angels.
Angelswin - So what's it been like since the press conference announcing you as the new General Manager?
Tony Reagins - It's been busy. Upbeat. Getting to know the other general managers has been a fun part of the job, getting to know the personalities. I still don't know how all of them work, but getting an idea, especially in this theater because I didn't know a number of them personally. I did have some relationships with some of the guys but when you're at this level that's a little bit different, so that's been great to be a part. Getting to know and talk to these guys and picking their brains and seeing what needs they may have and what needs we might have that may be a fit.
Angelswin - About the job. Is there a lot of communication? Is it constant? Is it an every day thing?
Tony Reagins - Yes, you talk to clubs every day. At least I've been talking to clubs every day. You'll get calls from other general managers, so yeah, there's been discussions.
Angelswin - On that subject, Bill Stoneman was arguably the best GM in Angel history, yet he was often criticized in the media for not pulling the trigger. Is this something that was his decision? How much influence does Arte Moreno have in this and do you know what it's going to be like during your tenure?
Tony Reagins - Well, I think Arte allows the baseball people to run the baseball department. When you talk about not pulling the trigger on anything I think you're referencing a deal, for one, it takes two sides to make a deal. I think at the end of the day, what you look for is - does it make your team better? If it makes your team better you move forward. If it doesn't, you don't. The easiest thing to say is no. If it does not make your team better, you don't do a deal just for the sake of saying i did a deal. If it sets your organization back, it probably doesn't make sense.
Angelswin - With the philosophy you mentioned of developing players ...
Tony Reagins - Yeah, but just in any deal in general you want to make sure it's good for your organization. Hopefully if you make a deal it's a win-win situation where both teams benefit, but our responsibility and my responsibility is the Angels and pushing us forward. Obviously we've had success over the last few years and we want to continue to have success but we just won't do things just for the sake of doing things.
Angelswin - I imagine since you were the Director of Player Development, it gives you an advantage as far as maybe trading away prospects . In that light, there has been speculation and rumors that a player like Miguel Cabrera is available for prospects, namely Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick and Nick Adenhart. Do you see any scenario where you would include all three of those players in one deal?
Tony Reagins - Like you said, that's speculation and it's really not smart to comment on speculation. I think if you operate your business guessing, you're going to put yourself in a tough situation, so i think you have to deal with factual information, rely on your scouts, rely on the resources that you have available to you - I'm talking about myself- then you make the best decision for your club. Obviously again, I think one of my strengths is that I know our system and we're looking to improve.
Angelswin - Can you confirm or deny ...
Tony Reagins - I can't confirm or deny.
Angelswin - Fair enough. Looking forward to 2008, is there a payroll limit that's been set? Is it flexible? If there's a player that's available you think is going to benefit the organization is that something that Mr. Moreno might consider maybe raising it?
Tony Reagins - At the end of the day, you look to improve your club, which is the bottom line. There's a number of scenarios that can happen that will allow us to improve our club. You want to make a decision that makes economic sense, but more importantly, baseball sense. If you tie those two things together, I think you're moving in the right direction.
Angelswin - Obviously not the most powerful lineup. Good lineup, scored a lot of runs, but based mostly on moving runners over, hit & runs, making contact. Is the power aspect of the lineup something you're looking to improve this year - maybe getting a little protection for Vladimir Guerrero ?
Tony Reagins - I know it's been said that power, the home run, has been missing from our lineup, but we've been able to score runs, we've been able to manufacture runs, we've been able to steal bases, we've been aggressive on the base paths, we play solid defense, we've pitched well both in the bullpen and our starting rotation. If it was today, I'm real comfortable with what we have right now. If we have a healthy Garrett Anderson, a healthy Vladimir Guerrero and a healthy Gary Matthews Jr. along with the other parts of our club, it's a pretty good club.
Angelswin - What areas are you looking to improve?
Tony Reagins - We'll look at anything. Obviously if we can add some offensive punch, we'll look at that, but in discussions it's not limited to one specific area. We're just looking at every opportunity we have to make our club better.
Angelswin - If you could label a player as untouchable or a keeper, does anyone on the roster fall into that category?
Tony Reagins - I don't think anyone is untouchable. I think there's a number of players that you would have to give some strong, strong thought to if you were deciding to move that player, but I don't think any player is untouchable.
Angelswin - What would you consider a successful 2008 ..
Tony Reagins - A World Championship
Angelswin - ...offseason ?
Tony Reagins - Offseason? Being able to acquire or add some offense if we can. But, like I said, if today was the Opening Day of the 2008 season, and I had a healthy club intact that I have right now, I'd be fine going to war with those guys.
Angelswin - Since Bill Stoneman has now taken on the role of Senior Advisor, how much influence is he going to have in the organization as far as potential trades or acquiring players ?
Tony Reagins - One, I think you can probably speak to him, but I've learned a lot over the years from Bill. I trust his opinion, along with Ken Forsch, Gary Sutherland, Eddie Bane, Abe Flores, Tory Hernandez and Mike Scioscia. All of these gentleman have input. I think it's important to tap into the resources that you have, and Bill is one of those resources. He's going to be around. Probably not as much as he has in the past, but he'll be around and he has a cell phone so I know that I can call him any time I have a question. He'll be a sounding board for me and offer his opinion.
Angelswin - Was there ever a player you thought you were certain would be a solid major leaguer that never quite panned out for whatever reason?
Tony Reagins - I think when you see youngsters at a very young age, 17, 18, 19 years old, you see potential. Any one specific player? I probably wouldn't comment on a specific player, but just in general you see a player with tools that you think these tools will play out in the major leagues but for one reason or another it doesn't work out that way. There are some examples but I don't want to mention specific names but I thought this player could pitch in the major leagues or play in the major leagues for a long time and it didn't happen.
Angelswin - Was it more mental?
Tony Reagins - Yeah, I think a couple of things come into play. Development, both mentally and physically, and an injury. You know, it's not easy to get to the major leagues . If it was you'd have however many people in the world playing ...
Angelswin - I'd be playing in the majors
Tony Reagins - Exactly! It's really an honor and a privilege to play at this level and a lot of things have to go right. You have to be in the right place at the right time and you have to perform at a high level. It's just not easy to do.
Angelswin - On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you can name somebody who's actually exceeded that potential and became a huge contributor either for the Angels or that went on to play somewhere else?
Tony Reagins - I like stories of perseverance. Guys that continue to just grind it out. A name that comes to mind just off the top is Nathan Haynes, who was probably in the minor leagues for 10 years, had 8 surgeries, had chances to give it up but kept fighting and had a shot to be at the major league level this year. That's a fun story.
Angelswin - And not a bad hitting coach right ?
Tony Reagins - Yeah !
Angelswin - Ok Tony, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tony Reagins - I grew up down in the Coachella Valley in Indio, CA . Grew up there and went to college at College of the Desert then went to Cal State Fullerton. Played baseball when I was younger. I was a good athlete, but was a pretty good football player and basketball player. Injuries probably derailed my sports career and I just thought it was important to get an education and do some things that I wanted to do and an education was part of it. After my college years, got the internship here and you kind of know the rest of the story.
Angelswin - Other than baseball, what's your favorite sport?
Tony Reagins - I go back and forth between football and basketball. Probably more football.
Angelswin - You probably don't have much time to watch, do you?
Tony Reagins - No, but I make sure to watch the Dallas Cowboys.
Angelswin - What do you do for fun?
Tony Reagins - Hang out with my family. That's very important. I have a young daughter that's 22 months now.
Angelswin - Congratulations
Tony Reagins - Thank you. She's fun . My wife and family's important to me. We have another one on the way that'll be here hopefully in February.
Angelswin - Again, congratulations ! Just in time for baseball season.
Tony Reagins - Yeah, thank you. I'm wondering how I'm going to navigate through that time period, but I think we'll make it work.
Angelswin - I guess that wraps it up. I had a great time . Thank you, Tony, we really appreciate you taking the time to do this. AngelsWin.com thanks you.
Tony Reagins - Hey, no problem. I was glad to be able to do it.