Stoneman can't believe he's back as Angels GM
ANAHEIM -- Bill Stoneman, 71 years old and nearly eight years removed from an active role in a Major League organization, sat down with owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino while the Angels hosted the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon. Jerry Dipoto had all but decided he was stepping down as general manager, and suddenly, Moreno and Carpino were scrambling for a replacement.
They met with Stoneman, the man who hired Mike Scioscia, to see if he'd be willing to do the job again on an interim basis.
"Gee," Stoneman thought, "do I have the energy to do it?"
Speaking Thursday, while in Savannah, Ga., to attend his son's wedding, Stoneman still wasn't altogether certain.
But Stoneman was willing to try.
"It's only for three months, four months, something like that," Stoneman said. "I'll take a run it. We worked well together several years ago, so I would think it can work again."
Stoneman was a hard-throwing, 5-foot-10 Major League right-hander from 1967-74. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 31st round in 1966, spent five years with the Montreal Expos, finished his career with the Angels and threw two no-hitters before he retired. He first worked in the Expos' front office in 1984, then took a job as the Angels' GM after the '99 season.
Stoneman hired Scioscia, guided the franchise to its only championship in 2002 and presided over a team that claimed three American League West titles in 2004-05 and '07.
After the 2007 season, Stoneman stepped down, handing the role to then-player development director Tony Reagins and saying he was too "worn down" to continue.
Since then, Stoneman has served as a senior advisor to the Angels. He said he spends about a half-day in the office each week during the offseason, then goes to Angel Stadium during games to "see if anyone has a question." He hasn't been involved in any of the day-to-day operations.
"Things have changed," Stoneman said. "There's stuff I have to get caught up on here. I want things to work well."
The vast majority of the executives and scouts who were brought in by Dipoto have agreed to stay, at least through the end of this season. Stoneman will rely heavily on assistant GM Matt Klentak, the 34-year-old GM-in-waiting whom Stoneman knows dating back to Klentak's days working at the Commissioner's Office.
Stoneman will return to Southern California on Sunday night, and he plans to get caught up on everything on Monday. By that point, the non-waiver Trade Deadline will be 25 days away -- and the Angels will probably still need a bat.
There will be a lot to do.
"There's guys working in the office who are very capable guys; guys I've known for a while and I trust," Stoneman said. "They may end up being involved in this stuff, too. We'll have to see where that's at."
Stoneman doesn't expect the transition to be awkward, even though he's inheriting a lot of Dipoto's executives, and he said he "doesn't have any concern that we're not going to be able to get this thing working right, because they're good people."
He still can't believe he's doing this again, though.
"This is unplanned," Stoneman said, laughing. "But we're talking three or four months or something like that. If I can help out, great. Let's take a run at it and see.
"It's going to be interesting."