Angels to step up GM search
Team hopes to have position filled by end of season
ANAHEIM -- The Angels face a potential season-defining homestand over these next 10 days, with nine games against the Rangers, Dodgers and Astros, three teams that would be in the playoffs if they started today. In the meantime, owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino are expected to accelerate a franchise-altering search for a new general manager, a reality thrust upon them when Jerry Dipoto resigned on the first of July.
The search is still believed to be in its embryonic stages, but the Angels are nonetheless hopeful of a resolution before season's end. Moreno and Carpino conducted an extensive search just four years ago -- a search that led to Dipoto -- and already have a good feel for most of the candidates.
This time, they'll face competition from the Brewers, Mariners and Red Sox for the best GM hopefuls, with the Phillies, Reds and a handful of others potentially joining the mix. More importantly, Moreno and Carpino must combat industry-wide perception over the dynamics of the Angels' GM job.
Dipoto ultimately grew exasperated with Mike Scioscia, who is considered to have more autonomy than most managers in baseball. That belief, fair or not, could influence some applicants. But the appeal of living in Southern California, working for an owner who wants to win every year and overseeing a roster that has the game's best all-around player, Mike Trout, locked up for five more years certainly has its appeal.
The Angels are keeping the details of their search close to the vest, their list of candidates still difficult to pare down. Moreno could not be reached and Carpino declined to comment. Scioscia said he doesn't "plan on being part of any selection committee," but he did stress the importance of "philosophically being on the same page" with the new GM.
Here's a look at potential options.
Moreno and Carpino began the selection process from the inside, and it could still end that way. Interim GM Bill Stoneman, 71 and filling in 7 1/2 years after stepping down, is not expected to continue beyond September. But assistant GMs Matt Klentak and Scott Servais, brought in by Dipoto, have been considered. And director of pro scouting Hal Morris, deemed by many within the industry as a future GM, could also get a strong look.
Issues between Dipoto and Scioscia aside, the Angels' brass likes the structure that has forged throughout scouting and player development. An organizational shakeup already took place when Dipoto replaced Tony Reagins in October 2011 and Moreno and Carpino would like to avoid another one.
Promoting an in-house candidate could solve that.
"There is a trust level in place already," a team source said. "It'd be a smooth transition."
That "trust level" reportedly doesn't exist between Scioscia and Servais, who have quarreled in the past. But Klentak, 35, gets along just fine with Scioscia and his coaching staff. And indications are that he'd be willing to stay on as an assistant if an outside GM gets hired.
Ideally, Moreno and Carpino would hire an experienced GM with a decorated track record.
They're available, but not readily.
Ben Cherington stepped down as Red Sox GM when Dave Dombrowski was brought in to run baseball operations on Aug. 18, but Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported Thursday that Cherington is "unlikely" to pursue a GM job this fall. Then there's Kevin Towers, the longtime Padres and D-backs GM who is now a special assistant with the Reds. Or Larry Beinfest, at one point a well-regarded executive with the Marlins. Or Dan O'Dowd, the longtime Rockies GM who has already been linked to the opening in Seattle.
But would an experienced GM take a job that isn't believed to come with full sovereignty?
The more likely scenario appears to be that the Angels give another young, up-and-coming executive a chance at his first GM job. Billy Eppler (Yankees assistant GM), Damon Oppenheimer (Yankees scouting director) and Thad Levine (Rangers assistant GM) were among the finalists during the Angels' search in 2011 and could factor in heavily this time around.
J.J. Picollo (Royals assistant GM), Jason McLeod (Cubs senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting), John Coppolella (Braves assistant GM), Doug Harris (Nationals assistant GM) and Jeff Kingston (Mariners interim GM) are also well-regarded throughout the industry.
And then there's the popular, albeit seemingly unlikely, out-of-the-box idea: Bud Black, the former Angels pitching coach and Padres manager, who at one point was seen as a potential GM.
"Arte likes him, he has a great relationship with Mike, and he'd know exactly what he's getting into," a team source said. "It can work."