Moreno: Scioscia has say but isn't de facto GM
Angels owner working on search for replacement for Reagins
ANAHEIM -- In the view of Angels owner Arte Moreno, Mike Scioscia does not own unofficial dual responsibilities within the organization, as widely perceived in and out of the industry.
In an interview with the Orange County Register, Moreno said Scioscia "is our manager -- he's not our general manager."
This is relevant with regard to the Angels' search for a general manager to replace Tony Reagins, who moved into an advisory role in the organization after four years as GM.
Scioscia, with the security of a 10-year contract, wields a certain influence within the organization, Moreno conceded. The manager has input in the decision-making apparatus, but not necessarily any more than other managers of long standing and proven success.
"I think there's a difference between communicating and making the call," Moreno said. "Mike communicates very well. Mike has a voice, but he's not making the call."
This is consistent with what Scioscia has always maintained with regard to personnel decisions. "You'll have to ask Tony about that," has been his standard response to any question involving potential deals or moves.
The owner said the GM search party is in the "exploratory" stage. Moreno, team president John Carpino, chairman Dennis Kuhl, former GM Bill Stoneman and Scioscia have begun tossing names around. It is not believed they have produced a short list or have asked any teams for permission to talk to someone already employed in a management position.
"Right now, we're sort of putting a list together," Moreno said. "We've had some people call. We're just going through the process of seeing who's available and how we're going to approach this."
A proven track record in the GM role is not essential, he said. The feeling is the club would rather uncover a future star than bid on an established one, such as Billy Beane of the A's or the Yankees' Brian Cashman, as the Cubs are doing with Boston's Theo Epstein.
"I think you want a good baseball man -- or I should say baseball person, because there are some qualified women out there -- because you want to be able to evaluate talent," Moreno said. "You also want him to be able to manage a [Minor League] system, so you have to look at someone who can evaluate how we're drafting and developing players. And you also want someone with good communication skills.
"You know, we won 86 games. So the organization is not completely broken. But obviously, we're not playing [in the postseason]. After 162 games -- watching every pitch probably more than is good for me -- you understand where your weaknesses are and you want to improve and get to that next level.
"I guess my expectations were to win 90-plus games. My expectations were to be in the playoffs, and I think the fans have those same expectations. Why shouldn't we have high expectations?"
The Angels have been granted permission to speak with two Yankees executives -- vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer and senior director of pro personnel Billy Eppler -- about their vacant general manager's job, the New York Daily News reported on Thursday.
The Angels have taken a lot of heat from fans and media for moves made and not made last winter. After free agents Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre signed with Boston and Texas, respectively, the Angels made a big splash in trading for three-time All-Star outfielder Vernon Wells.
They sent Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to Toronto, which in turn traded Napoli to the Rangers, where he has flourished for the American League West champions. It didn't help that Napoli pounded Angels pitching while best buddy Jeff Mathis continued to scuffle offensively.
Attempting to pop another popular perception, Moreno -- in his first interview since Reagins' exit -- said the Wells deal was not the deciding factor in sweeping front-office changes. Detached in the wake of Reagins' resignation were assistant general manager Ken Forsch, special assistant to the GM Gary Sutherland and director of player development Abe Flores.
"A complete overstatement," Moreno said when asked if Wells' disappointing season was the final straw for Reagins. The owner made reference to Crawford being a more expensive disappointment in Boston. He is owed almost twice as much on his contract ($122 million over six years) as Wells, who has $63 million left across three years.
"Our baseball people made some decisions that did not work out on the baseball field," Moreno said. "The changes have been made. Any time you make changes, it's rough."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.